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YouTubeTV, Disney (DIS) talks continue as deadline looms

By Andrew Knoll

18:48, 15 December 2021

ESPN content shown on a computer screen
The dispute could represent an opportunity for competitors - Photo: Shutterstock

A dispute between Disney and YouTube TV could cause Disney-owned channels, such as ABC and ESPN, to vanish from the YouTube TV platform this week.

Alphabet-owned YouTube sent a letter to its subscribers and posted an update on its blog indicating that if an agreement was not reached by Friday, they would lower the base cost of their TV streaming platform service to $49.99 a month from $64.99 a month, a 23% decrease. That cost differential tracks roughly with the $13.99 it would cost for users to add Disney’s own streaming bundle of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, which includes much of the content jeopardised by the expiring contract.

“If Disney offers us equitable terms, we will renew our agreement with them. However, if we are unable to reach a deal by Friday, the Disney-owned channels will no longer be available on YouTube TV and we will decrease our monthly price by $15, from $64.99 to $49.99 (while this content remains off our platform),” YouTube TV said. “We would love every member to stay with our service, but we give you the flexibility to pause or cancel your membership anytime. If you want to continue watching some of Disney’s content, you can consider signing up for their own service, The Disney Bundle.”

Earlier in the week, Disney had expressed optimism that amicable terms could be reached.

Opening the door

If an agreement is not reached by Friday, the YouTube-Disney discord could represent an opportunity for competitors, including Disney’s own TV streaming service Hulu.

Hulu’s price for Hulu plus live TV with ads is set to rise to $69.99 from $64.99 on 21 December. However, along with that cost increase comes access to Disney+ and ESPN+.


2,004.85 Price
-1.180% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0198%
Short position overnight fee 0.0116%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.50


16,080.90 Price
+0.500% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0262%
Short position overnight fee 0.0040%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 7.0


44,151.85 Price
+1.590% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 106.00

Oil - Crude

71.41 Price
+2.320% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0204%
Short position overnight fee -0.0015%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.030

DIRECTV STREAM, formerly AT&T TV, and the sports-focused fuboTV are among the other competitors who could seek to capitalise on the carriage dispute.

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Old dynamics in new frontiers

In the 2000s, much of the talk around television content was centred on the potential for regional monopolies by cable companies, some of whom would trade minority market shares amongst each other to effectively dominate individual markets. Cable providers in markets like Philadelphia and Los Angeles would make exclusive arrangements to broadcast local sporting events in order to gain an advantage over cable competitors as well as satellite providers, who in turn tried to get their own exclusive content, like DIRECTV’s exclusive holding of NFL SUNDAY TICKET.

Today, streaming services have broken free from regional restrictions in terms of operation and their broadband mode of delivery has streamlined access. That has created an environment of greater consumer choice and customisation, but also one in which there are more business arrangements between more content providers and platforms than ever.

Even in the cable-dominated days, Disney content, ESPN in particular, contributed to more significant costs for cable companies than other content. Today, they are joined by other media giants like Comcast in a marketplace with a dizzying number of content-sharing pacts.

YouTube TV has seen its share of carriage negotiations recently. YouTube TV and the streaming platform Roku recently ended a contract dispute, for instance. In October, YouTube TV and Comcast’s NBCUniversal also extended their deal to keep content from NBC and Telemundo on YouTube TV, avoiding a blackout of channels.

Read more: ROKU stock jumps 18% after Google agreement

Markets in this article

Alphabet Inc - A (Extended Hours)
135.39 USD
-1.94 -1.420%
42.13 USD
-0.07 -0.170%
Walt Disney Co (Extended Hours)
93.04 USD
0.48 +0.520%
Walt Disney Co (Extended Hours)
93.04 USD
0.48 +0.520%
Walt Disney Co (Extended Hours)
93.04 USD
0.48 +0.520%

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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