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YouTube TV Drops Disney-Owned Channels Including ESPN, Disney Channel, & ABC

After a year of bitter disputes with its partners, YouTube TV just took a gut-punch from one of the entertainment world’s biggest titans. The Streamable has confirmed that the service was unable to negotiate a deal with Disney to retain more than 17 Disney-owned channels, including owned-and-operated ABC affiliates, Disney Channel, and ESPN.

YouTube TV users also lost access to their old DVR recordings from those channels.

In a statement to The Streamable, Disney said:

We’ve been in ongoing negotiations with Google’s YouTube TV and unfortunately, they have declined to reach a fair deal with us based on market terms and conditions. As a result, their subscribers have lost access to our unrivaled portfolio of networks including live sports and news plus kids, family and general entertainment programming from ABC, the ESPN networks, the Disney channels, Freeform, the FX networks and the National Geographic channels.

We stand ready to reach an equitable agreement with Google as quickly as possible in order to minimize the inconvenience to YouTube TV viewers by restoring our networks. We hope Google will join us in that effort.

Those channels have disappeared from the service in the middle of the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves game and are no longer listed on the YouTube TV homepage. To compensate, YouTube TV will lower its price by $15/month to $49.99 a month until the standoff is resolved.

But if you are looking for other alternatives to YouTube TV, that carry ABC locals, as well as Disney Channel, ESPN, Freeform, FX, and National Geographic, here are your options.

The dispute comes at a particularly important time for sports fans as we head into College Bowl season and the final weeks of the NFL regular season and the start of the playoffs.

In a blog post, YouTube TV said of the failed negotiations:

We’ve held good faith negotiations with Disney for several months. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we’ve been unable to reach an equitable agreement before our existing one expired, and their channels are no longer available on YouTube TV. We will be decreasing our monthly price by $15, from $64.99 to $49.99 while this content remains off of our platform.

We know this is frustrating news for our customers, and not what we wanted. We will continue conversations with Disney to advocate on your behalf in hopes of restoring their content on YouTube TV. In the meantime, we’ll update this website soon with the latest updates, including channels impacted, alternative ways to continue enjoying some of Disney’s content on The Disney Bundle, information about our price decrease, plus any other questions you may have about this situation.

What Channels Did YouTube TV Lose?

The channels involved in the dispute are:

  • ABC
  • ABC News Live
  • Disney Channel
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • Freeform
  • FX
  • FXX
  • FXM
  • National Geographic
  • National Geographic Wild
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3 (by authentication to the ESPN app)
  • ACC Network
  • SEC Network

What Are Your Alternatives to Keep Watching Disney-owned Channels?

Here are your alternative live streaming services to consider. We’ll break down the pros and cons of each.

DTV STREAM Fubo Hulu Philo Sling TV YouTube
Free Trial Free Trial Free 3-Day Trial Free Trial Get $10 Off Sign Up
$79.99 $91.99 $76.99 $25 $40 $40 $72.99
ABC - -
ABC News Live - - - -
ACC Network + $29 - + $11 -
Disney Channel - -
Disney Junior - + $6 -
Disney XD - + $6 -
ESPN - -
ESPN2 - -
ESPN3 - + $10 - -
ESPNEWS + $15 + $8 - + $11 -
ESPNU + $15 + $8 - + $11 -
Freeform - -
FX - -
FXM + $40 + $8 - - + $6
FXX - - + $6
Nat Geo Wild + $40 + $8 - - + $6
National Geographic - -
SEC Network + $15 + $8 - + $11 -

Closest YouTube TV Alternatives

What Are Some Good Options to Try With Your $15?

If you’d like sports, you will be able to keep up with a lot of ESPN’s programming with a subscription to ESPN+. It’s a fantastic way to follow the NHL and NBA.

If you don’t need the channels YouTube TV lost, but you’d like to experiment with some new streaming options, consider trying these services.

Streaming Services Under $15 Worth Trying

  • Amazon Prime Video

    With one of the largest streaming libraries around, Prime Video is a solid addition to any lineup. With original films and series and a growing portfolio of live sports, you’re sure to find something you like.

    Prime Video offers shows like the ultra-violent superhero adventures “The Boys” and “Invincible,” comedic dramas like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Fleabag,” and a show that made almost every critic’s 2021 best-of list, “The Underground Railroad.”

    When it comes to movies, you’ll find award winners like “Sound of Metal,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” and “One Night in Miami.”

    A 30-day free trial will give you plenty of time to see if it’s right for you.

    Key takeaway: Huge library with something for everybody, but a frustrating UI.

  • Hulu

    Note that Hulu on demand is different from Hulu + Live TV. You can pick up the Hulu library for a very affordable price, getting access to A-list movies, compelling TV shows, and a great documentary library.

    As we noted above, Hulu comes packed with great stuff for grown-ups, like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Only Murders in the Building,” and the great FX series like “What We Do in the Shadows,” “Fargo,” and “Atlanta.” You’ll find a lot of older shows as well, like “My Name is Earl,” “My So-Called Life,” “Key & Peele,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “Weeds.”

    If you don’t mind ads before a movie or periodically interrupting a TV show, the ad-supported tier is very affordable.

    Key takeaway: A brilliant library of older shows, some popular movies, and a handful of strong originals.

  • Disney+

    If you love Disney princesses, Marvel superheroes, or Star Wars sci-fi, this is the streaming service for you. Disney+ combines some of the world’s most beloved brands in one place.

    When it comes to original series, the big breakthroughs have been the Marvel titles like “WandaVision,” “Loki,” and “Hawkeye.” Disney+ is also home to one of the biggest-ever streaming hits - “The Mandalorian.” The upcoming “Book of Boba Fett” should provide much the same thrill for Star Wars fans.

    If there’s a knock on Disney+, it’s that you won’t find much compelling content for adults. There’s “Hamilton” and the Beatles docuseries “Get Back,” but the rest feels aimed at a younger crowd.

    Key takeaway: From Pixar to pirates to princesses to a galaxy far, far away, Disney+ has something for the kid in all of us.

    Sign Up

    Get Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for just $14.99 a month ($12 savings).

  • Max

    No streaming service had a better 2021 than HBO Max. By dumping the entire Warner Bros. theatrical slate directly on the streamer, the company offered eye-popping blockbusters with built-in buzz.

    HBO Max is home to DC superheroes like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman; prestige dramas like “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones,” and the “Wire”; side-splitting comedies like “Veep” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and a wealth of thought-provoking documentaries. The service benefits from a library with nearly every show HBO has ever aired, and Warner Bros.’ legendary catalog.

    HBO Max is our choice as Best for Action, Best for Comedy, Best for Families, and Best for Documentaries.

    Key takeaway: Some of the best TV you’ll ever see, alongside some unforgettable movies. HBO Max is a truly superior streamer.

YouTube TV’s 2021 Tussles

In September, YouTube TV had a similar dispute with NBCUniversal over carriage of their local affiliates and cable channels, but were able to reach a deal without the channels going dark.

They were also recently in a carriage dispute with Roku, which prevented new subscribers from downloading the YouTube TV App. The two sides reached a deal last week that saw the app return to the platform.

However, YouTube TV has dropped channels in the past. Most notably, in October 2020 they dropped Bally Sports (which were Fox Sports RSNs at the time), along with Sinclair-owned Tennis Channel and Boston-based RSN NESN.

Stay with The Streamable and we’ll update you if and when this standoff subsides.

Ben Bowman is the Content Director of The Streamable. He cut the cord in 2009. He roots for all Detroit sports and is a fan of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Edgar Wright, Paul Thomas Anderson, Billy Wilder, Buster Keaton, and the Coen Brothers. Ben streams on an Apple TV.


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