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ABC, ESPN, FX Pulled From Dish and Sling TV in Train Dispute – The Hollywood Reporter

A TV channel owned by The Walt Disney Co. including ABC, ESPN, FX, Nat Geo, and Disney Channel went dark at midnight PT for subscribers of satellite TV company Dish Network and streaming multichannel service Sling TV.

The line was withdrawn after the two companies were unable to reach an agreement on a new carriage agreement.

Discord comes at an inopportune time, with ABC just starting its new fall season, including a comeback Abbott Elementary Schooland ESPN midway through the NFL season and with the MLB playoffs set to begin next week.

“After months of good faith negotiations, Dish has refused to reach a fair market-based agreement with us to continue distribution of our network,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. “The rates and terms we seek reflect the market and have been the basis for many successful deals with pay-TV providers of all types and sizes across the country. We are committed to achieving a fair resolution, and we urge Dish to work with us to minimize disruption to their customers.”

Dish, meanwhile, said that Disney is demanding a one billion dollar fee increase, and investing in services like Disney+ and ESPN+ that are not included in Dish’s subscription fee.

“Disney has exploited its market position to increase costs without regard to the public viewing experience,” said Brian Neylon, executive vice president and group president of Dish TV, in a statement. “Clearly, Disney insists on prioritizing greed over American audiences, especially sports fans and families with children who watch their content.”

Dish currently has around 10 million pay-TV subscribers, split between its satellite TV services and Sling TV.

The Dish dispute is the second significant blackout for Disney in the past year. In late 2021, Disney’s channel went black on YouTube TV.

However, Dish is very aggressive in its negotiations with content providers, with outages and blackout threats common to the service in recent years.

Shortly after completing the acquisition of the previous Fox network, Disney and Dish clashed over FX and Nat Geo. Both channels are now covered by Disney’s overarching contract, and have been withdrawn in the current dispute.

Univision went dark on Dish for months when the two companies were unable to reach a deal, and the first blackout in HBO history occurred on Dish in 2018. Dish and HBO didn’t reach a new deal until 2021.

And satellite companies have seen local channels go black in disputes with Nexstar and Scripps, with Sinclair narrowly avoiding a blackout last year.


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