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YouTube TV Loses ESPN, Disney-Owned Networks After Sides Fail to Reach Deal

ESPN is one of a handful of Disney-owned channels that was pulled from YouTube TV after the live TV streaming service failed to come to terms with Disney before the current agreement expired Friday. 

YouTube TV announced in a statement Friday night that the two sides have been working on a deal for months. Without channels like ESPN, ABC, the SEC and ACC Networks, National Geographic and FX, the service dropped its base subscription from $64.99 to $49.99.

“We’ve held good faith negotiations with Disney for several months. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach an equitable agreement before our existing one expired," the YouTube TV statement read. 

“... We know this is frustrating news, and it is not the outcome we wanted. We will continue conversations with Disney to advocate on your behalf in hopes of restoring their content on YouTube TV.”

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The Star Tribune reported that the channels were pulled in the middle of Friday's Lakers-Timberwolves game on ESPN. YouTube TV, which is owned by Google, has nearly four million subscribers, while The Walt Disney Company also owns streaming services Disney+ and Hulu. 

“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,” Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution said in a statement late Friday.

The sides did not reveal what held up the deal. However, the Star Tribune reported that Disney previously demanded Google pay the distribution rights for Disney’s linear TV channels as part of YouTube TV’s live channel bundles. 

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