Verizon reached a deal with Walt Disney Co. thatends threats that viewers of its Fios cable service would lose ESPN and even 6ABC in Philadelphia.
Verizon issued the following:
Verizon and The Walt Disney Company have reached a broad-based distribution agreement. Details will be released in the coming days.
— Verizon News (@VerizonNews) December 30, 2018
Verizon had warned customers that the agreement could expire on New Year’s Eve and had harsh words for the entertainment company.
“Despite what you may be hearing from Disney, we have been negotiating a renewal agreement to keep their networks, which include those from Disney and ESPN, as well as ABC affiliates in Philadelphia and New York, in our lineup,” Verizon stated.
Verizon went on to claim that Disney is proposing that Verizon pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for its programming, “despite the fact thatmany of its key networks are experiencing declining viewership. In addition to the proposed rate increase, Disney is also demanding we include, and pay for, another regional sports channel, the ACC Network, in order to continue bringing you all the other Disney and ESPN networks we do today.”
Such battles are not rare and typically occur with the programmer urging fans to call the cable provider.
Verizon is correct in citing declining ratings on Disney networks like ABC and ESPN, although the sports network and ABC recently saw strong ratings for its NBA Christmas games. However, the audience for the Disney networks remains massive, with the company’s Disney Channel highly popular with families.
Disney, like Verizon, has deep pockets, with its movie franchise and theme parks comprising a large chunk of its holdings.