Disney, FOX refuse to air ads for Verizon 'skinny' TV bundle

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 25 April 2015

Disney and FOX are not pleased with Verizon's plan to unbundle networks for a skinny TV package, with ABC and FOX TV and radio stations in New York refusing to run commercials for the Custom HD offering, the telco said.

Custom TV allows consumers to take a core package of 35 basic cable and broadcast channels for $54.99, then choose between two of seven add-on packages of themed networks, including two sports packages, kids, lifestyle etc. The scheme breaks up Disney's ABC and ESPN channels in the bundle.

"WABC-TV will not accept the new Verizon FiOS customised bundle creative," reads a WABC email obtained by Bloomberg. However, Verizon added that Disney did run ads for the new service offering in Washington, D.C., Boston and Pittsburgh.

Disney and FOX have both said they haven't agreed to the strategy, and that the network unbundling violates the distribution contracts they have in place with the telco. Verizon however said that under its programming agreements, it's allowed to create the product.

"Disney's anti-competitive tactic is only hurting the consumer," Verizon's spokeswoman told Reuters. "From our perspective there is no dispute."