Verizon's FiOS Set to Lose Disney-Owned Channels
If a new deal isn't reached, ESPN, the Disney Channel and more could go dark for 4.5 million customers on New Year's Eve.
Verizon customers are at risk of losing ESPN, the Disney Channel, ABC stations in New York and Philadelphia, Freeform and more in as soon as six days if the phone company's FiOS Video is unable to reach a new distribution agreement with the Walt Disney Co.
The parties say negotiations are ongoing, but if a deal can't be reached, Disney's channels could go dark for FiOS customers at 5 p.m. Eastern on New Year's Eve, and Disney is running ads warning them of the prospect.
“Our proven history of providing extraordinary value to consumers and distributors is unmatched. Our negotiations continue in earnest and we remain optimistic that we can reach a deal," Disney said in an emailed statement.
“We are actively negotiating with Disney to ensure the best deal for our customers,” FiOS said in an emailed statement.
FiOS has about 4.5 million TV subscribers after losing about 63,000 in the most recently reported quarter as linear TV faces competitive threats from streamers like Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.
If FiOS loses the various ESPN channels offered nowadays, its customers won't have access to a few college football playoff games and an NFL wild card game. ESPN, in fact, is the No. 2 cable network in primetime in total viewers behind Fox News, according to Nielsen.
Some of the ABC shows FiOS would lose include Modern Family, The Goldbergs, The Conners, Grey's Anatomy and The Good Doctor, though most of them are in reruns for the next several weeks.