ESPN and Verizon reach settlement over channel bundling dispute

US sports broadcaster ESPN and telecommunications company Verizon have reached a settlement in their lawsuit over the latter’s ‘Custom TV’ programming package.

ESPN sued Verizon in April 2015 over the new payment planning structure of its FiOS TV pay-television service. On 19 April 2015, Verizon launched a new FiOS plan that started at $55 (€48) a month for a basic tier of 35 channels plus two themed channel packs, moving the ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU channels into a separate sports pack at an additional cost. ESPN asked the New York court to prevent Verizon from offering the new plan, accusing it of “breach of contract”.

The USA Today newspaper said Verizon’s program was revised in February, and now comes with a choice of two plans, ‘Essentials’ and ‘Sports & More’, each costing $65 per month. Customers can add additional channel packs for $6 each.

The terms of the settlement remain confidential and will not be disclosed. “We have a long-standing relationship with Verizon,” Sean Breen, senior vice-president of affiliate sales for Disney and ESPN Media Networks, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with them to provide great content to consumers for years to come.”

USA Today added that the settlement clears the way for pay-television providers to experiment with new ways of selling television channels.