Disney networks no longer available on Dish and Sling TV

Disney-owned channels have gone dark on Dish Network’s satellite television and Sling TV services after Disney and Dish failed to reach a carriage renewal deal last Friday. In addition to Disney channels, the dispute also affects access to ABC local stations in eight markets.

What channels are affected by the blackout?

Disney networks that are no longer available on Dish and Sling TV are 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.

ABC-owned local channels that have been removed from Dish and Sling TV include Chicago (WLS), Fresno, Calif. (KFSN), Houston (KTRK), Los Angeles (KABC), New York (WABC), Philadelphia (WPVI), Raleigh, N.C. (WTVD), and San Francisco (KGO).

Disney vs Dish and Sling TV

As mentioned above, the blackout started after Disney and Dish were unable to reach an agreement over a carriage contract extension. The two companies’ previous contract expired at midnight PT on September 30th.

In a press release on October 1st, Dish, which owns Sling TV, said Disney declined its offer for a contract extension, walked away from the negotiation table, and refused to keep its programming accessible for millions of Dish and Sling customers across the United States. Dish added that the removal of Disney channels from its services will have a huge impact on rural consumers who largely depend on satellite television as their primary means of entertainment.

According to Dish, as reported by Variety, Disney had asked for a $1 billion increase in fees and is demanding that ESPN and ESPN2 be included in Dish TV packages that currently exclude sports channels. Additionally, while Dish TV allows subscribers to remove local channels to reduce their monthly bills, the pay-TV provider said Disney now “wants to take this away by forcing most Dish customers in their ABC markets to pay for local channels.”

“Disney has exploited its market position to increase fees without regard for the public viewing experience,” said Brian Neylon, executive vice president and group president, Dish TV. “Clearly, Disney insists on prioritizing greed above American viewers, especially sports fans and families with children who watch their content.”

Dish went on to claim that Disney is more interested in becoming a monopolistic power than providing its programming to viewers under fair terms, and plans to spend billions on its direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Disney+ and ESPN+, which are not available for Dish and Sling TV customers.

For its part, Disney said Dish didn’t accept its fair, market-based offer for continuing to carry the networks.

“After months of negotiating in good faith, Dish has declined to reach a fair, market-based agreement with us for continued distribution of our networks,” Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution said in a statement. “The rates and terms we are seeking reflect the marketplace and have been the foundation for numerous successful deals with pay-TV providers of all types and sizes across the country.”

Is this the end of Disney and Dish’s partnership?

Despite the blackout, both companies are still committed to reaching a fair resolution.

“We will continue to negotiate to provide the best value for our customers. We want to provide customers with fair rates, reliable service, and the freedom of choice to pay for the channels they watch most,” said Gary Schanman, executive vice president and group president at Sling TV. “Disney is an important long-term partner for us, and we hope they will be reasonable in their demands so we can reach a fair agreement and bring our customers’ channels back as quickly as possible.”

Disney, on the other hand, said, “We’re committed to reaching a fair resolution, and we urge Dish to work with us in order to minimize the disruption to their customers.”

Because of Dish’s aggressive negotiating tactics with content companies, this isn’t the first time a number of channels have been removed from its services. In fact, the Disney networks’ removal from Dish and Sling TV comes just four days after Dish reached a carriage-renewal agreement for Sony Pictures’ Game Show Network following a three-week blackout.

Meanwhile, Disney and Google’s YouTube TV had a standoff in carriage negotiations back in December 2021, which resulted in a two-day blackout on the internet TV service.

Sources: Dish, Variety

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