Disney and Verizon Reach Distribution Agreement, Avoid ‘GH’ Blackout

Steve Burton, General Hospital, GH, Verizon FiOS, The Walt Disney Company
Stock Photo | Craig Sjodin/ABC

Verizon will continue providing customers with ABC, ESPN and Disney Channel programming now that the telecommunications giant has reached a carriage deal with The Walt Disney Company.

With a potential blackout of Disney-owned content, including “General Hospital,” on Verizon’s FiOS network making headline news over the last couple of days, viewers flocked to social media demanding the two companies come to an agreement or else, and their voices were heard. In a statement released mid-day Sunday, the companies announced that “Verizon and The Walt Disney Company have reached a broad-based distribution agreement. Details will be released in the coming days.”

The previous agreement was set to expire on Monday, December 31, 2018 at 5:00 p.m., EST, just hours before millions were set to watch the ball drop during “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” the annual bash aired on ABC — viewers in New York and Philadelphia would have been especially hit hard as Disney owns the network’s stations in those areas.

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Last week, Verizon reported that Disney demanded hundreds of millions of dollars in additional transmission fees and that the fiberoptics provider “include, and pay for, another regional sports channel, the ACC Network, in order to continue bringing you all the other Disney and ESPN networks we do today.”

The carriage agreement between Verizon FiOS and Disney does not include the 21 Century Fox-owned cable properties FX, FXX, FXM, Nat Geo or Nat Geo Wild, which Disney will inherit as part of its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

In addition to customers in New York and Philadelphia, Verizon FiOS has 4.5 million TV subscribers and 6 million broadband subscribers in Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Providence, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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