ESPN, ABC are back on YouTube TV after a deal with Disney


YouTube TV’s battle with Disney is over almost as quickly as it began. The two have beaten a deal that will restore access to ESPN, FX and other Disney channels on YouTube’s streaming service. Local ABC stations will return during the day (December 19), but you may already see access to all recordings from Disney channels.

The basic subscription rate returns to $65 per month, but YouTube TV promised that “all affected members” would still receive a one-time discount of $15. More details would come via email, the service said.

Disney channels disappeared on December 18 after the media giant and YouTube TV failed to agree on channel transportation costs. As is often the case with these types of disputes, one side blamed the other. Disney claimed that YouTube TV “refused to make a fair deal” while YouTube insisted it was advocating “on behalf of” the viewers.

This isn’t YouTube TV’s only argument over transportation deals. The service has dealt with blows with NBCUniversal and Sinclair, among others. That said, the Disney fight was arguably one of the most important. It’s not just that channels like ESPN continue to be a major draw for live TV services — it’s that Disney could have easily transitioned some of those customers over to its equivalent Hulu offering. YouTube may have decided that any higher costs (and possible rate increases) were less painful than the loss of viewers.

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