Update: December 19, 2021
Disney and YouTube TV reached a deal to return Disney content to YouTube TV customers within the $64.99 price. Read the update from YouTube TV.
On December 17, Disney owned channels like ABC, ESPN, National Geographic, Disney Channel and 14 others were blacked out on YouTube TV. See the full list of channels. Both YouTube TV and Disney have issued public statements about the dispute. Blackouts like this are happening more and more frequently due to licensing fee disputes, but there are multiple alternatives other than YouTube TV to watch ABC, ESPN and other Disney channels. As discussions evolve and hopefully get resolved, we will update this blog – check back for new updates.
Why Disney channels got blacked out on YouTube TV?
Price increases and blackouts on giant cable companies like Comcast Xfinity, Dish Network, and AT&T DirecTV happen every few months as contract renewals happen. While this happens less frequently with streaming service providers like YouTube TV; they are not immune to the same rising TV content costs.
The streaming service providers (ex. YouTube TV) license the content from content owners (ex. Disney, NBCUniversal, etc.). Google’s YouTube TV had a similar dispute with NBCUniversal earlier this year. The dispute isn’t about whether to include the channels, but instead it’s over how much the service providers should pay for that content. And the most expensive content is typically local channels including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, etc. and sports channels like ESPN, CBS Sports, etc.
IMPORTANT! A major distinction with the YouTube TV & Disney blackout is that YouTube TV is crediting customers for the difference in subscription costs. Where as giant cable and satellite companies rarely tell you about the blackout and do not credit you, you’re still locked into long term contracts. Cord Cutter’s alike know this and love that they have the choice to switch providers, services are month to month, and no contracts!
What Disney channels did YouTube TV lose?
Eighteen (18) Disney channels in total were blacked out on YouTube TV. The local ABC affiliate (Denver Channel 7 ABC), ABC News Live, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, ACC Network.
YouTube TV released the following statement:
“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.
As of December 17, 2021, end of day Eastern Time, all Disney-owned channels, including ESPN and your local ABC station, are unavailable on YouTube TV. Members will not be able to watch live or local content from Disney and will also lose access to any previous Library recordings from these channels, including 4K content that is available as part of the 4K Plus add-on.
We will be decreasing our monthly price by $15, from $64.99 to $49.99, for the Base Plan while this content remains off of our platform. No action is needed on your part. A credit of $15 per month will automatically be issued. Once the content is unavailable, this credit will be applied to your next bill after December 17 and will only be visible to family managers in Settings > Billing after the charge has taken place. Please note that if you have a promotional price with YouTube TV, you can still expect a $15 credit. Members who are in a paused state will receive this credit one month after their first charge. Should we come to an agreement with Disney, we will adjust the price accordingly and will notify members via email beforehand.
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.”
Read the full statement from YouTube TV.
Contact YouTube TV for Support
If you subscribe to YouTube TV, they are your service provider, and are best suited to provide support – contact YouTube TV Support.
YouTube TV is still a great alternative to cable and satellite because for similar content (local plus cable channels), most of our customers save between $35 – $100 per month on TV. YouTube TV’s streaming service includes 90 local and cable streaming channels. Further, the YouTube TV experience is the same across every TV, every device and can travel with you. These are just some of the reasons why we recommend YouTube TV. To determine if YouTube TV is right for you, request a free TV consultation.
What is StreamWise Solutions’ relationship to YouTube TV and Disney?
None. StreamWise Solutions is a local Colorado-based experts in cord-cutting, providing whole-home Wi-Fi & TV solutions. We have no direct relationship to Google, YouTube TV or Disney or any other content or services providers. Our mission has always been to remain a neutral, third-party to help consumers watch the TV they want, get the best experience, and save money every month on that content. We are not a streaming service provider, nor are we are not a content provider which is why we cannot provide support for those services specifically.
In addition to our expert consultation, install and training of whole-home Wi-Fi & TV solutions, Pro Support Plan customers get the added benefits of our Online Help Center and timely communications to handle blackouts and other changes from service or content providers.
Our whole-home Wi-Fi and TV solutions are personalized for every customer, but we often pair a whole-home antenna ($0 monthly subscription), with inexpensive streaming options (as low as $35/ month subscription). When a whole-home antenna is not an option (ex. living in an apartment or condo), our consultation focuses on the channels most important to you, an optimized Wi-Fi network, and optimal streaming devices, all prior to configuring YouTube TV, Hulu + Live, Fubo, AT&T DirecTV Stream or other streaming service.
YouTube TV vs. Disney – what to do next?
For our customers with YouTube TV, we recommend waiting out the dispute. As in past disputes, we anticipate a resolution will happen soon, typically within a couple weeks. Unfortunately, we have no control on the outcome. While a few days or few weeks go by, the overall impact is minimal to most. Further, sitting tight saves the non-techy subscriber switching costs, adding another streaming service, and further complicating their stack of streaming subscriptions. We help you avoid stacking subscriptions to help save money.
Also, YouTube TV is crediting their subscribers the difference, passing along the savings in a sense. YouTube TV has stated they will discount their normal $64.99/month price to $49.99/month automatically until the dispute is resolved.
If you can’t live without without Disney channels in the short term, we have complied a list of options to get ABC, ESPN, National Geographic and other Disney owned channels without YouTube TV below.
Alternatives to watch Disney channels without YouTube TV:
- Get Denver Channel 7 ABC for FREE with a whole-home HD Antenna
The best alternative to YouTube TV, any streaming service with local channels, and the big cable and satellite bundle is what we always recommend – install a whole-home HD antenna. In the Denver metro area this means 70+ local channels, in HD, are free forever. The most expensive and popular channels – the local networks (view over-the-air (OTA) channels), are the ones that spark disputes. But with a properly configured HD antenna, local channels are totally FREE for life and NO blackouts ever as regulated by the FCC. Thus you could watch the most popular Disney owned channel, ABC, free forever.
If you renting in a apartment, condo, townhome or home, can’t install an outdoor HD antenna, or prefer just prefer streaming, then we have outlined a couple other additional options.
- Get the rest of Disney channels (plus more) for ~$35/ month with Sling
If you get ABC via HD antenna, and/or don’t watch ABC but want to watch the rest of the Disney channels Live, On-Demand and DVR, another good option is to subscribe to Sling. The added benefits: 1) Sling subscriptions are month-to-month, 2) there are no long term contracts, 3) Sling will always be less expensive than YouTube TV because it does not include local channels, and 4) and the right Sling package may consolidate streaming services.
- Get ESPN+ Download, Install and sign up for $5.99 ESPN+
While it is not exactly the same live ESPN channels, if you only want some ESPN content and/or are more interested in on-demand streaming with some live content as well. The ESPN+ streaming app might be your best bet.
- Download, Install and sign up for $7.99 Disney+
Similar to ESPN+, but with less live content. You can get On Demand Disney+ content that will have some on demand content from Disney, Nat Geo, etc.
- Download, Install and sign up for $5.99 Hulu
Similar to Disney+, but with less live content. You can get On Demand Hulu content that will have some on demand content from ABC, FX, etc.
- Sign up for all 3 – Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+ bundle for 13.99 per month.
- Download, Install and Sign Up for $65+ Hulu Live, Fubo or DirecTV Stream
This might be your best option if you live in an apartment and cant wait for YouTube TV and Disney to come to an agreement. If you want all of the same channels as YouTube TV all in one app, Live, On Demand and DVR these services are direct competitors to YouTube TV.
For people that already subscribe to Hulu, Hulu Live is an upgrade option that is a full blow streaming service similar to YouTube TV. It includes all the Disney owned channels including ABC, ESPN, etc. If you are new to Hulu, you can download the Hulu App and sign up for the service, similar to the video below which shows the process on the Amazon Fire TV hardware.
Hulu also offers Hulu Live as an alternative for live content and is the closest direct substitute for YouTube TV. However we are not a fan because of subpar functionality and a subpar DVR. The same would apply to other competitors Fubo TV and DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV).
While the video below shows you the steps to download and install the HBO Max and DirecTV Stream app on the Fire TV, the same process would apply to any app (ESPN+, Hulu, etc.)
Don’t stress – call the experts.
Rather than stressing over which app to choose, which apps to install, and result in overlapping and over paying for streaming subscriptions (what we call “Stacking”) – trust the experts at StreamWise Solutions to help you choose the right TV solution for you instead of expensive cable or satellite.
If you’re already a StreamWise Solutions customer, Pro Support Plan members receive free phone support, access to our extensive self-help video library, and have 24x7x365 access to our extensive Knowledgebase and Help Center.
YouTube TV and it’s logo are trademarks of Google LLC, all rights reserved, and its reference in this blog is not endorsed or affiliated with Google in any way. Logo was downloaded as permitted from https://about.google/brand-resource-center/logos-list/. Denver 7 ABC, KMGH and its logo are trademarks of Scripps Media Inc, all rights reserved, and its reference in this blog is not endorsed or affiliated with Scripps Media in any way. Logo was downloaded from https://thedenverchannel.com. ESPN and it’s logo are trademarks of ESPN Inc, all rights reserved, and its reference in this blog is not endorsed or affiliated with ESPN in any way. . Logo was downloaded as permitted from https://worldvectorlogo.com/logo/espn. National Geographic and Yellow Border Design (the National Geographic logo) are trademarks of National Geographic Society, all rights reserved, and its reference in this blog is not endorsed or affiliated with National Geographic Society in any way. To view logo use and trademark, visit https://help.nationalgeographic.com/s/article/logo-use-and-trademark. Logo used under license from https://seeklogo.com/vector-logo/97288/national-geographic.