YouTube TV settles its contract dispute with Disney, credits customers $15

Last week, YouTube warned customers they may lose access to Disney-owned channels on its YouTube TV streaming service by the end of the week if the two companies couldn’t come to a new carriage agreement. As of Friday, negotiations fell through and YouTube TV alerted customers it would have to drop Disney channels from its service and would lower its pricing for customers. But over the weekend, things turned around. On Sunday, YouTube announced a new agreement had been reached, but it will still offer customers a $15 credit for the disruption.

YouTube updated its blog post where it had been keeping customers informed about its contract dispute to say that it had reached a new agreement that will allow Disney to continue to stream its content on YouTube TV. That means the pricing for YouTube TV customers won’t drop down to the lower rate, as had been warranted when it looked like the channels would be removed. Instead, YouTube TV will continue at the usual rate of $64.99 per month.

The new deal will include Disney’s networks, like ESPN and FX, as well as Disney’s on-demand and live content, as before. Customers with recordings from Disney properties in their YouTube TV Library will also see those restored. And YouTube TV noted that users would see their local ABC stations return to the service by the end of the day on Sunday.

Had an agreement not been reached, YouTube TV customers would have lost access to a large number of streaming channels and on-demand content offerings. In total, 18 Disney-owned channels were impacted, including users’ local ABC station, ABC News Live, The Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNews, SEC Network, and ACC Network.

YouTube had also promised its members a $15 discount while Disney content remained off its platform, as a result of the contractual dispute. Even though Disney’s programming had only been removed for a day, YouTube announced on Sunday it will still honor a one-time credit for all impacted members.

Members who haven’t already received their $15 discount on their monthly bill will see it applied to their next bill. No action will be needed on members’ parts to receive the credit. In addition, if customers had opted to cancel due to the failed negotiations, YouTube says they’ll be able to return by visiting the website (, then clicking “add” to return the Base plan to their membership. Members who had paused their membership will receive the credit one month after their first charge, the company noted. Members who are in a paused state will receive this credit one month after their first charge. (More details are on a dedicated website.)

Only weeks ago, YouTube had been on the other side of the negotiations table in a contract dispute with Roku over its YouTube and YouTube TV apps. This one was later resolved without either company sharing deals as to how they settled what had been serious allegations on Roku’s part about Google’s increased demands to use data and anticompetitive behavior.

Overwatch League strikes a milestone deal with Disney and ESPN

If you’re sick of hearing about esports, you need to get over it. The space continues to grow, inching its way into the traditional media landscape. Today, in fact, Activision Blizzard announced that the Overwatch League playoffs will be aired on ESPN and Disney XD.

The Overwatch League in itself is a huge step for esports, as it’s the first true city-based league for a competitive video game. While most esports leagues consist of privately owned teams with little or nothing to do with geography, Overwatch League is a pro league made up of city-based teams such as the Dallas Fuel or the San Francisco Shock. Many of these teams are owned by big names in the traditional sports world, such as Robert Kraft (CEO and owner of New England Patriots, who owns the Boston Uprising) and Jeff Wilpon (COO of the New York Mets, who owns the New York Excelsior).

The agreement, which also includes a recap/highlights package from 2018 Grand Finals coverage on ABC on July 29, marks the first time that live competitive gaming has aired on ESPN in prime time, and will be the first broadcast of an esports championship on ABC. Activision Blizzard said in the announcement that this is just the start of a multi-year agreement.

That said, EA’s Madden NFL 18 did broadcast an esports tournament on ESPN2 and Disney XD earlier this year.

Overwatch League playoffs begin tonight at 8pm ET, and will culminate in the Grand Finals, taking place in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on July 27 and July 28.

Here’s what Justin Connolly, EVP of Affiliate Sales and Marketing at Disney and ESPN, had to say in a prepared statement:

The Overwatch League Grand Finals is by far our most comprehensive television distribution for an esports event over a single weekend: 10 total hours over four networks and three days. This overall collaboration with Disney/ABC, ESPN and Blizzard represents our continued commitment to esports, and we look forward to providing marquee Overwatch League coverage across our television platforms for fans.

The rise of Twitch stars, like Ninja, and the growth of the competitive gaming scene have paved the way not only for a new type of sports media, but for a growing new economy. While challenges remain around monetizing the content, the pieces of the puzzle are slowing coming together to create an audience large enough to incentivize advertisers to spend big money.

In fact, sponsorship revenue and ad spending revenue are expected to hit $655 million and $224 million, respectively, by 2020, according to Newzoo. That doesn’t sound like much when you think about the NFL, which raked in $1.3 billion in revenue in 2017 alone. But, like this deal proves, the esports space is growing and working its way into the mainstream, hoping to get the attention of young men between 18 and 34 who have become increasingly difficult to reach via traditional advertising.

Alongside the live TV broadcast of the Overwatch League playoffs on ESPN and Disney XD, the playoffs will also be live-streamed via Twitch, and on the ESPN app and DisneyNOW.

Madden NFL 18 esports are coming to Disney XD and ESPN

 With the Superbowl just a few weeks away, the world of football has some relatively unexpected news. Madden NFL, one of the most popular gaming titles in the world, is going even more mainstream. ESPN2 and Disney XD will broadcast Madden e-sports tournaments thanks to a new deal inked by EA, Disney, and the NFL. Madden NFL 18 is one of the top ten best selling games in the last 12 months, and… Read More