Disney Networks, Stations Blacked Out on Dish, Sling TV

Dish Network
(Image credit: Dish Network)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—On Oct. 1, ESPN, ABC-owned local stations in eight markets, FX, Disney channel and other Disney owned services went dark on the Dish and Sling TV services after Disney and Dish were unable to come to terms on a new carriage deal. 

In announcing the blackout, Dish complained that Disney had declined Dish's offer for a contract extension, walked away from the negotiation table and refused to keep its programming accessible for millions of Dish and Sling customers across the United States. Dish also claimed that Disney had demanded nearly a billion dollar increase. 

ABC owned stations impacted by Disney’s blackout include: Chicago, IL (WLS), Fresno, CA (KFSN), Houston, TX (KTRK), Los Angeles, CA (KABC), New York, NY (WABC), Philadelphia, PA (WPVI), Raleigh, NC (WTVD) and San Francisco, CA (KGO), Dish said.  

“Disney has exploited its market position to increase fees without regard for the public viewing experience,” said Brian Neylon, executive vice president and group president, Dish TV. “Clearly, Disney insists on prioritizing greed above American viewers, especially sports fans and families with children who watch their content.”

In a statement quoted by Next TV (opens in new tab) Disney replied that “After months of negotiating in good faith, Dish has declined to reach a fair, market-based agreement with us for continued distribution of our networks. As a result, their Dish and Sling TV subscribers have lost access to our unrivaled portfolio of live sports and news plus kids, family and general entertainment programming. The rates and terms we are seeking reflect the marketplace and have been the foundation for numerous successful deals with pay TV providers of all types and sizes across the country. We’re committed to reaching a fair resolution, and we urge Dish to work with us in order to minimize the disruption to their customers."

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.