After the two companies failed to agree on Saturday, the Walt Disney Company pulled in a dozen channels from Dish Network and streaming service Sling TV.
Dish Network sent a statement to reporters Saturday morning announcing the blackout.
Brian Neylon, executive vice president of Dish TV stated that Disney has used its market position to raise fees without considering the public viewing experience. “Clearly, Disney prioritizes greed over American viewers, particularly sports fans and families who have children who view their content.”
The blackout affects around a dozen channels owned or operated by Disney. Customers in seven markets, including New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia San Francisco, Houston, San Francisco, San Francisco, Houston, as well as Disney-owned ABC stations, have lost their access.
Dish Network spokeswoman said that Disney did not extend its contract to carry its cable channels on streaming and satellite. Dish Network stated that the company’s decision to end negotiations over carriage of channels will have a disproportionate impact on customers who live in rural areas because there are less options for pay TV.
We will continue to negotiate to get the best price for our customers. “We want to offer customers fair rates, reliable service, and the freedom to choose the channels they watch,” Gary Schanaman (executive in charge of Sling TV) stated on Saturday. “Disney has been an important partner over the long-term. We hope that they will be fair in their demands to reach a fair agreement so we can bring back our customers’ channels as quickly as we can.”
Disney executives have not yet addressed the programming blackout that occurred Saturday morning.
Dish Network has been aggressive over the years in negotiations with programmers. Television station owners have sought higher fees for the right of transmitting their channels and networks. A Dish Network executive stated earlier this year that a dispute with TEGNA, which resulted in many local channels being dropped from their service, was the primary reason for a decline in subscribers to both the streaming and satellite ends of the business.
Dish Network also refused to broadcast regional sport channels offered Comcast‘s NBC Universal, and the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Diamond Sports. The company considers these channels too costly and not of much interest to its customers.
The dispute with Disney is not typical. In fact, the partnership between the companies was one of Sling TV’s main selling points in its early days. Sling TV was the only way to get access to ESPN’s sports network when it launched in 2015 .
All subscribers to Sling TV who pay at least $35 per month for streaming access to top-tier cable networks will be affected by the dispute between Dish Network & Disney. Sling Orange was the company’s legacy cable network, while Sling Blue offered Disney-owned channels such as FX and National Geographic.
It’s not clear whether Disney was looking for additional funds to support its channels or if Dish Network would have to offer the ex-Fox cable channels in Sling Orange if it so desired.
Customers will still be unable to access Disney’s entire programming lineup, which includes ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” until they sign up for a different service. Customers who live in rural areas and subscribe to Dish Network satellite service via DirecTV can get the missing channels.
Streamers who want ESPN or other Disney channels have two options: pay significantly more or go without. These channels are offered by Vigo (60 per month), Disney’s Hulu With Live TV (70 per month), Google-owned YouTube TV (65 per month), Fubo TV (70 per month) and DirecTV streaming ($70/month).