Disney (DIS) - Get Report has begun warning subscribers of AT&T's (T) - Get Report U-verse and DirecTV that they could soon lose access to popular channels such as ABC and ESPN if a carriage dispute between the two companies isn't resolved, reports say.
"Our contract with AT&T for the ABC, ESPN, Disney, and Freeform networks is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming," a Disney spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday.
"However, we remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so."
Sports Business Daily reported that Disney began running the warning last night during ESPN's Monday Night Football.
In a message to DirecTV subscribers, Disney wrote that "[S]o far AT&T has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with us, despite the fact that the terms we are seeking are in line with recent marketplace deals we have reached with other distributors."
In a statement provided to TheStreet responding to Disney's messaging, an AT&T spokesman said, "We're disappointed to see The Walt Disney Co. put their viewers into the middle of negotiations. 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."
The statement also said: "Our goal is always to deliver the content our customers want at a value that also makes sense to them. We'll continue to fight for that here and appreciate their patience while we work this matter out."