YouTube TV reaches deal with Disney to restore channels including ABC, ESPN

The new carriage contract means Disney-owned properties will return to the streaming service after a two-day outage.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
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Edward Moyer
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Youtube TV
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YouTube TV customers will regain access to Disney's suite of networks, which went dark Friday, after the companies announced Sunday they had reached a new carriage agreement.

The new deal, announced by YouTube TV on Twitter, means its customers will once again have access to programming from ESPN, local ABC channels, Freeform, FX networks, National Geographic and other Disney properties.

"We're happy to announce that we've reached a deal with Disney and have already started to restore access to channels like ESPN and FX, and Disney recordings that were previously in your Library," the Google-owned service said, adding that local ABC TV stations will begin turning back on throughout the day.

"We appreciate Google's collaboration to reach fair terms that are consistent with the market, and we're thrilled that our robust lineup of live sports and news plus kids, family and general entertainment programming is in the process of being restored to YouTube TV subscribers across the country," Disney said in a statement.

YouTube had said said it would drop the monthly price of its TV-streaming service by $15 -- making it $50 a month -- while programming was unavailable.

The Disney-owned channels went dark on the streaming service Friday night after YouTube said In a blog post it had "been unable to reach an equitable agreement" with Disney before the existing contract expired. Both companies issued statements Saturday that they were still working to negotiate a resolution to the outage.

This latest bargaining session followed a highly publicized carriage dispute between Google and Roku, which led to Roku dropping the YouTube TV app from its devices for new customers. The intense battle began in April and was settled Dec. 8, one day before the deadline. In October, YouTube and NBCUniversal extended a contract to keep channels such as NBC, Bravo, SyFy, E!, Oxygen, USA, Telemundo and CNBC on YouTube TV. 

CNET's David Katzmaier notes, though, that while relatively brief, the two-day blackout was an inconvenience to YouTube TV customers who wanted to watch college football (bowl season starts this weekend), the NFL or the NBA on ESPN or ABC, or a Christmas special on the Disney Channel. Katzmaier has his own take on YouTube TV alternatives for bummed-out Disney and sports fans.

CNET's Steven Musil contributed to this report.