Last night DIRECTV and AT&T TV NOW subscribers had a bit of a surprise if they wanted Monday Night NFL Football. A warning popped up from ESPN saying Disney and AT&T are in talks, but Disney-owned channels like ESPN, The Disney Channel, Freeform and more could be leaving AT&T’s TV services. The Sports Business Journal broke the news first.
ESPN sent Cord Cutters News the following statement about this possible blackout: “Our contract with AT&T for the ABC, ESPN, Disney, and Freeform networks 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 sent Cord Cutters News this statement about the possible blackout: “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. We hope to avoid any interruption to the services some of our customers care about. Our goal is always to deliver the content our customers want at a value that also makes sense to them. We’ll continue to fight for that here and appreciate their patience while we work this matter out.”
This blackout would also include Disney owned ABC locals WABC Channel 7, KABC Channel 7, WTVD ABC 11, KGO ABC 7, KTRK ABC 13, KFSN ABC 30, WLS ABC 7, and WPVI ABC 6. No date was announced, but they warned the blackout could happen at some point in September 2019.
It seems like AT&T has been negotiating hard with broadcasters recently. A blackout with Disney would follow recent blackouts between AT&T and broadcasters Nexstar and CBS, to name a few. With cord cutting growing faster than ever, the number of blackouts like this are likely to continue as both TV providers like AT&T and broadcasters like Disney struggle to address this changing TV landscape.
Cord Cutters News has reached out to both Disney and AT&T for comment. We will update our story as we learn more.
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