Entertainment

Why AT&T cable, DirecTV customers might soon lose ABC and ESPN channels

Another contract dispute is brewing and could leave DirecTV and AT&T cable subscribers without ABC, ESPN and other popular channels owned by The Walt Disney Co
Another contract dispute is brewing and could leave DirecTV and AT&T cable subscribers without ABC, ESPN and other popular channels owned by The Walt Disney Co

Brace yourself, DirecTV and AT&T cable subscribers, for the potential loss of more local channels and some cable options.

Another contract dispute is brewing and it could leave DirecTV and AT&T cable subscribers notably without ABC and ESPN among the popular channels owned by The Walt Disney Co.

DirecTV and AT&T video subscribers are seeing warnings on Disney-owned ABC30 and ESPN that they could soon lose out on certain programming because of negotiating issues.

AT&T’s contract with Disney to broadcast ABC, ESPN, the Disney channel and Freeform networks is set to expire soon, a Disney spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday.

“We have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming,” the statement reads. “However, we remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so.”

It’s not clear when Disney’s contract with AT&T will expire, though multichannel.com reports it likely is at the end of September. The last time Disney reached a carriage deal with DirecTV was in December 2014 for a deal that expired on Sept. 30 of that year.

DirecTV and AT&T cable subscribers already had to endure the loss of key channels this summer, including CBS47 and KSEE24 in the Fresno market, after the cable provider couldn’t reach an agreement with parent company Nexstar.

After eight weeks with those channels off the air, the companies finally struck a deal, just in time for college football and the NFL seasons.

If the Disney blackout does happen, DirecTV and AT&T cable subscribers in the Fresno market would not be able to watch KFSN (ABC30), as well as certain college football games and the NFL’s Monday Night Football on ESPN.

“We’re disappointed to see The Walt Disney Co. put their viewers into the middle of negotiations,” according to an AT&T statement. “We are on the side of consumer choice and value and want to keep Disney channels and owned-and-operated local ABC stations in eight cities in our customers’ lineups.

“We hope to avoid any interruption to the services some of our customers care about.”

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