“Our contract with AT&T for the ABC, ESPN, Disney, and Freeform networks is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday. “However, we remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so.”
Disney began running the warning during Monday Night Football on ESPN last night. In a message to DirecTV subscribers, Disney wrote that “[S]o far AT&T has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with us, despite the fact that the terms we are seeking are in line with recent marketplace deals we have reached with other distributors.”
In a statement responding to Disney’s messaging, an AT&T spokesperson said that “We’re disappointed to see The Walt Disney Co. put their viewers into the middle of negotiations. We are on the side of consumer choice and value and want to keep Disney channels and owned-and-operated local ABC stations in eight cities in our customers’ lineups.”
“Our goal is always to deliver the content our customers want at a value that also makes sense to them,” the statement continues. “We’ll continue to fight for that here and appreciate their patience while we work this matter out.”
The dispute comes as Disney continues to negotiate with Dish Network in a similar dispute over distribution of the FX and Nat Geo channels. AT&T, meanwhile, resolved a carriage dispute with CBS in July that impacted the CBS broadcast network and CBS Sports Network, among others.
8:10 a.m. This story has been updated with statements from Disney and AT&T