Disney, Fox Refuse to Air Verizon FiOS TV Ads Amid Dispute Over Custom Bundle

Disney and Fox have informed Verizon Communications that they won’t run the telco’s ads for the new FiOS Custom TV service on their TV networks — after both media conglomerates complained that the package was not authorized under existing contracts.

Verizon’s campaign has been running only in the New York market. The Disney properties that rejected the ads are WABC, WEPN (the ESPN New York radio station) and A&E locally, while Fox’s WNYW and YES Network are refusing to run the spots.

The telco’s new bundle, announced this week, starts at $59.99 for a base package of 35 channels, plus two additional genre-based channel packs. Each additional pack — for sports, kids, lifestyle, news and info, pop culture and entertainment — is $10 extra.

Regarding the companies’ decisions to not run the ads, a Verizon spokeswoman said: “This anti-competitive tactic is only hurting consumers. As we’ve been saying, FiOS Custom TV is a product consumers want, and it’s all about consumer choice. We believe we are allowed to offer consumers and small businesses this choice and flexibility under our existing contracts.”

In addition to Disney, Fox Sports and NBCUniversal said the FiOS Custom TV tiering packages do not comply with their carriage agreements.

A Disney rep to declined comment. A Fox spokesman said, “As we said in our original statement earlier this week, we prefer to keep our commercial discussions confidential, and will continue to address our concerns directly and privately with Verizon.”

In a statement released Wednesday, Disney said: “The Walt Disney Company has been at the forefront of working with distributors to create new and innovative consumer offerings on multiple platforms. The issue here is that Verizon made unilateral decisions on how to offer ABC Family, Disney Channels, ESPN and ESPN2 that are in violation of our existing agreements.”

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