Amid a carriage dispute, Disney Networks on Dish and Sling TV, including ESPN and ABC, go dark.

Disney allegedly wants a $1 billion increase in fees, according to Dish.

Amid a carriage dispute, Disney Networks on Dish and Sling TV, including ESPN and ABC, go dark.
Image Credit : Disney

After the two companies failed to strike a carriage-renewal agreement on Friday, Disney's suite of 20 TV channels was removed off Dish Network's satellite television and Sling TV services for consumers across the United States.

ESPN, FX, Disney Channel, Freeform, and National Geographic, as well as ABC local stations in eight locations, are no longer available on Dish TV or Sling TV. The last carriage contract between the two firms terminated on September 30 at midnight PT. Dish has a reputation in the pay-TV industry for aggressive bargaining techniques with content producers — and hasn't been hesitant to wait through lengthy outages to attempt to get better terms.

According to Dish, the media giant requested a $1 billion price hike (though it is unclear what that implies) and turned down the pay-TV operator's offer for a contract extension. Dish accused Disney of causing the channel shutdown and "holding viewers hostage for bargaining leverage."

Dish rejected Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution's "fair, market-based" offer to continue carrying the networks.

"After months of sincere talks, Dish has declined to reach a fair, market-based agreement with us for the ongoing distribution of our networks.. As a result, our unmatched portfolio of live sports and news, as well as kids, family, and general entertainment programming from the ABC-owned television stations, the ESPN networks, the Disney-branded channels, Freeform, the FX networks, the National Geographic channels, and BabyTV, is no longer available to their Dish and Sling TV subscribers.

"The pricing and terms we are seeking reflect the marketplace and have been the foundation for several successful partnerships with pay-TV providers of all sorts and sizes across the country," according to Disney. We are dedicated to achieving a fair settlement, and we encourage Dish to collaborate with us to minimize the inconvenience to their consumers."

Disney, according to Dish, is requesting that ESPN and ESPN2 be included in Dish TV bundles that presently do not contain sports channels as part of the pricing increase. Furthermore, while Dish TV has enabled users to delete local channels to lower their monthly fees, "Disney now wants to take this away by requiring most Dish customers in its ABC areas to pay for local channels," the pay-TV service claimed.

"Disney has used its market position to raise rates without consideration for the public watching experience," Dish TV's EVP and group president, Brian Neylon, said in a statement. "Clearly, Disney places money ahead of American audiences, particularly sports lovers and families with children who enjoy their material."

The following Disney-owned networks are affected by the blackout: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, Disney Channel, Disney Jr., Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo, ACC Network, SEC Network, Longhorn Network, and Baby TV.

The following ABC-owned localities have dropped Dish and Sling TV: Chicago (WLS), Fresno, Calif. (KFSN), Houston (KTRK), Los Angeles (KABC), New York (WABC), Philadelphia (WPVI), Raleigh, N.C. (WTVD), and San Francisco (KTVD) (KGO).

As of June 30, Dish has 7.79 million satellite TV customers (down 9% year over year) and 2.20 million Sling TV subscribers (down 10% year over year).

Just four days after Dish renewed its coverage agreement for Sony Pictures' Game Show Network after a three-week blackout, the Disney networks were taken off of Dish and Sling. Disney and Google's YouTube TV were in carriage negotiations at a standstill in December 2021, which led to a two-day outage of the internet TV service.

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