YouTube TV and NBCUniversal agree to ‘short’ extension to avoid channels disappearing
Following a public standoff earlier this week, YouTube TV and NBCUniversal have agreed to a “short” extension over the streaming service carrying several of the broadcaster’s channels. That means that at least for now, YouTube TV will continue to carry more than a dozen major NBCUniversal-owned channels, including NBC regional sports networks. But it also means YouTube TV’s monthly subscription cost won’t be getting $10 cheaper.
Had talks broken down, NBCUniversal programming would have been removed from YouTube TV at midnight ET. “NBCUniversal and YouTube TV have agreed to a short extension while parties continue talks,” an NBCUniversal spokesperson tells Protocol and Vulture. “NBCUniversal will not go dark on YouTube TV at midnight eastern tonight.”
YouTube said in a blog post earlier this week that should the companies fail to reach an agreement about carriage, it would slash its monthly subscription cost from $65 per month to $55 per month — undercutting comparatively priced live TV streaming services like Hulu with Live TV and FuboTV. But that would mean that YouTube TV users would lose a dozen-plus NBC channels, including:
The Olympic Channel
As well as regional sports networks that include:
NBC Sports Bay Area
NBC Sports Boston
NBC Sports California
NBC Sports Chicago
NBC Sports Philadelphia
NBC Sports Washington
According to NBCUniversal, the standoff over carriage — which has become all too common in the streaming wars, particularly when it comes to regional sports programming — involved a demand for what an NBCUniversal source close to the matter described as a fair rate relating to marketplace terms. A spokesperson for YouTube, meanwhile, said that the company was negotiating for terms that it sees as fair based on industry standards and the size of its service. The spokesperson also said that NBCUniversal asked YouTube TV to bundle Peacock, which the spokesperson claimed would result in users paying twice for the same content.
YouTube preemptively said earlier this week that users looking for NBCUniversal-owned programming could head to NBCUniversal’s own flagship streaming service Peacock to access their NBC programming. Peacock’s Premium tier costs $5 per month, meaning that YouTube TV users would be saving a few bucks. But they would have to use two different apps to stream content that is accessible in a single, dedicated live TV service.