(Adds details on Fox, recasts pargraph 1 with Fox)
By Malathi Nayak and Lisa Richwine
NEW YORK, April 23 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc said on Thursday that Walt Disney Co and Twenty-First Century Fox are not running ads promoting the wireless carrier’s recently launched FiOS Custom TV service on its channels in the New York market.
Since Verizon unveiled its cheaper, slimmer pay-TV plan on Sunday, Disney, Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox have pushed back and said Verizon’s FiOS TV was violating existing agreements.
A Verizon spokeswoman said Disney was refusing to run the Custom TV ads on channels such as ABC and ESPN in New York. Fox did the same in New York, specifically on its stations WNYW and YES Network, she added.
An ESPN spokeswoman on Thursday said, “The issue here is that Verizon unilaterally decided” how to offer Disney-owned channels ABC Family, the Disney Channels, ESPN 1 and ESPN 2 on the Custom TV service.
When Verizon kicked off its marketing campaign on Tuesday, the Verizon spokeswoman said, an ESPN radio spot did not go on air and a video ad that was expected to run was not shown on ABC’s local New York affiliate channel.
However, Disney did run Custom TV ads in Washington, D.C., Boston and Pittsburgh, she added.
Verizon’s new pay-TV plan lets customers sign up for a slimmed-down, cheaper bundle of 36 fixed channels through its FiOS TV and then add on genre-specific packages such as kids, sports or news. It hopes the flexibility will lure them away from cable rivals and upstart online TV companies.
“Disney’s anti-competitive tactic is only hurting the consumer,” Verizon’s spokeswoman said. “From our perspective there is no dispute.”
Verizon executives have maintained that their product does not invalidate agreements with content partners. (Editing by Ted Botha and Andrew Hay)