Disney is closing in on a massive $22 million-per-year deal that would keep the Country Music Association Awards on ABC while bringing in its streaming services to support the awards show as broadcast ratings decline. The new agreement carries a license fee of at least $22 million a year for a multiyear contract, according to two individuals familiar with the deal, which was possible because Disney could draw on funding from Hulu and Disney+ in addition to ABC. As part of the new deal, Hulu and Disney+ are expected to feature additional shoulder programming around the annual event, which is held every November.
The wire service has refused to accept limitations that organizers of the show have placed on images from the venue that it believes affects its ability to accurately report on the event. The restrictions prevent AP from providing coverage of the ceremony “to its standards,” according to an advisory it sent to members. The AP will not write about, take images of or shoot video of the show, which airs Wednesday evening on ABC.
Despite big pitches from top executives at CBS and NBC, ABC is nearing a deal to keep the ratings draw on its network.