- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
TV channels owned by The Walt Disney Co. including ABC, ESPN, FX, Nat Geo and Disney Channel went dark at midnight PT for customers of satellite TV firm Dish Network and its streaming multichannel service Sling TV.
The channels were pulled after the two companies were unable to come to terms on a new carriage agreement.
The networks were restored late Sunday night after Disney said it reached a “handshake agreement” with Dish.
The dispute comes at an inopportune time, with ABC just debuting its new fall season, including the return of Abbott Elementary, and ESPN in the middle of the NFL season and with the MLB playoffs set to begin next week.
“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,” a Disney spokesperson 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. 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.”
Dish, meanwhile, said that Disney was demanding a billion dollar increase in fees, and was investing in services like Disney+ and ESPN+ which are not included in the cost of a Dish subscription.
“Disney has exploited its market position to increase fees without regard for the public viewing experience,” said Brian Neylon, executive vp and group president for Dish TV, in a statement. “Clearly, Disney insists on prioritizing greed above American viewers, especially sports fans and families with children who watch their content.”
Dish currently has approximately 10 million pay TV subscribers, split between the satellite TV service and Sling TV.
The Dish dispute is the second significant blackout for Disney in the last year. In late 2021 Disney’s channels briefly went dark on YouTube TV.
However, Dish has been particularly aggressive in negotiations with content providers, with blackouts and the threat of blackouts a common occurrence on the service in recent years.
Shortly after completing its acquisition of the former Fox networks, Disney and Dish were in a dispute over FX and Nat Geo. Both of those channels are now covered by the overarching Disney contract, and have been pulled in the current dispute.
And the satellite company has seen local channels go dark in disputes with Nexstar and Scripps, with Sinclair narrowly avoiding a blackout last year.
Oct. 3, 7:52 a.m. This story has been updated with news of the channels returning after Disney said it reached a “handshake agreement.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day