Disney Blocks Verizon Custom TV Ads in 'Skinny Bundle' Dispute

A La Carte Lite Won't Come Easy, Not If Networks Have a Say

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Walt Disney Co. has pulled TV ads for Verizon Communications Inc.'s Custom TV from its networks after saying that the new TV-package service violates contract agreements.

Verizon was notified by e-mail Wednesday that the Custom TV ads wouldn't run on Disney-owned channels, which include ESPN, ABC and A&E, according to Verizon spokesman Jim Gerace.

The move is another setback for Verizon in its dispute with programmers like Disney, Fox Sports and NBCUniversal that have said the carrier doesn't have the right to offer their networks on Custom TV. Verizon, which started selling the smaller, cheaper pay-TV package on Sunday, has said that it is within its rights under accords with the media companies.

"We would like people to see our ads, our whole objective is to give consumers a choice," Gerace said.

Disney didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

Custom TV gives viewers a base package of channels for $55 and a choice to add other categories for $10 apiece.

As pay-TV providers are looking to break up the traditional bundles of hundreds of channels, media companies are trying to protect their business, saying their distribution agreements specify that certain popular channels must remain in main, larger packages.

~ Bloomberg News ~

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