With negotiations between Verizon and Disney over a new contract stalling, millions of Verizon Fios customers are set to lose access to Disney channels from a blackout next week.
Ahead of a potential blackout, which would affect all of Disney’s channels like the ABC stations that Disney owns in major cities like New York and Philadelphia, ESPN, Disney, Disney XD, and Freeform, both Verizon and Disney are sending messages to customers. Verizon Fios customers are seeing ads on Disney-owned channels warning them that they could lose access to those channels.
According to Deadline, Verizon has emailed customers and told them Disney wants the company to “pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for its programming” even amid a lower viewer count. It also says that Disney wants them to include the ACC Network as part of its bundle for customers.
“Unfortunately, as of today, they have rejected our offers and there is a possibility that we won’t be able to reach an agreement with them prior to our contract expiration,” the Verizon email stated.
“Our proven history of providing extraordinary value to consumers and distributors is unmatched,” Disney said in a statement. “Our negotiations continue in earnest and we remain optimistic that we can reach a deal.”
A blackout will prevent Verizon Fios customers from viewing regular programming on Disney-owned channels, and that means customers will not be able to watch special college football matchups like the Rose Bowl and the College Football Playoff as well as the Pro Bowl and at least part of the NFL playoffs.
Negotiations have faltered amid rising cable costs as more customers opt for a la carte TV, which includes options like ESPN+ and the upcoming Disney+ streaming service.
Although Disney and Verizon have attempted to negotiate on terms for a new contract, neither side has been able to come to an agreement; the current contract ends on Jan. 1 at 5pm. Verizon Fios has around 4.5 million subscribers for its TV services.
H/T NBC News