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Dish and Sling TV lose Disney, ESPN, and others due to contract dispute

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Alex Castro / The Verge

Dish and its Sling TV streaming service lost Disney’s package of channels after the companies couldn’t come to a contract agreement (via Deadline). In an announcement on its site, Dish says the Disney Channel, ESPN, FX, Freeform, National Geographic, and some local ABC networks are no longer available on its services after its contract expired early this morning.

Dish blames the dispute on Disney, claiming the company demanded a $1 billion fee increase and “walked away from the negotiation table.” The satellite provider adds that Disney wanted Dish to include ESPN, ESPN2, and local ABC channels at an added cost in packages that don’t carry them.

“Disney has exploited its market position to increase fees without regard for the public viewing experience,” Brian Neylon, Dish TV’s executive vice president said in a statement. “Clearly, Disney insists on prioritizing greed above American viewers.”

In a statement provided to The Verge, Disney points the finger at Dish, stating the company “declined to reach a fair, market-based agreement” and that the “rates and terms” it’s asking for “reflect the marketplace and have been the foundation for numerous successful deals with pay TV providers of all types and sizes across the country.”

As a result of the disagreement, the following channels will no longer be available on Dish or Sling TV: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, Disney Channel, Disney Jr., Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo, ACC Network, SEC Network, Longhorn Network, Baby TV, 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 and Disney’s dispute comes just a few days after Dish pulled the Sony-owned Game Show Network for three weeks after they failed to cut a deal. Disney butted heads with YouTube TV for similar reasons last year, resulting in the loss of Disney, ESPN, and other Disney-owned channels from Google’s service for about two days. Even if these disagreements are often temporary, it’s still unfair for companies to throw viewers in the middle of the conflict.

Update October 2nd, 12:24PM ET: Updated the headline and text to clarify that Dish and Sling TV lost access to Disney’s package of channels.

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