ESPN, Disney Channel, & Freeform Could Be Dropped by DIRECTV & AT&T TV NOW
Last night, DIRECTV and AT&T TV NOW customers were greeted with a message that they might lose ESPN, Disney Channel, and Freeform.
According to John Ourand of SBJ, the two sides are currently negotiating a new deal that is expiring this month. In a statement to SBJ, ESPN said “Our contract is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming. However, we remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so.”
AT&T has since responded with “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.”
The latest carriage negotiation comes just six weeks after CBS nationally was dropped in major markets on DirecTV and nationally on DIRECTV NOW (now known as AT&T TV NOW). Prior to that, Nexstar, the largest local affiliate owner, had their channels dropped DirecTV, DIRECTV NOW, and AT&T U-Verse.
While both have since come to a deal, AT&T has been embroiled in content disputes since early July. While it is highly unlikely that Disney would see their channels dropped from DIRECTV, it will probably go down to the wire. In the Spring, the service renegotiated deals with Viacom and A+E, while dropping NFL Network.