Google’s YouTube TV and NBCUniversal announced on Saturday that they had entered into a new promotion agreement that will retain 14 NBCUniversal television channels – including NBC, MSNBC, Bravo, E! and Telemundo – available to YouTube TV subscribers.
“We are very pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement to continue to lead the entire NBCUniversal portfolio of channels,” said YouTube on Saturday morning in a blog post.
“YouTube TV will continue to offer 85+ networks for $ 64.99,” said YouTube TV. “We appreciate NBCUniversal’s willingness to work towards an agreement, and we also appreciate your patience as we negotiated with them on your behalf.”
The deal avoids blackouting shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo, The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC and NBC’s The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt and Sunday Night Football . “
“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with YouTube TV and can continue to offer our entire network portfolio without interruption,” NBCUniversal said in a statement. “YouTube is a valued partner and we never want our fans into a fight, but we felt obliged to let them know what was at stake. We thank our viewers for their loyalty and promise to continue bringing them the networks and shows they love. “
The two sides had set a deadline Thursday evening to work out a new distribution pact, and earlier in the week the two companies warned consumers of a possible power outage. There was a breakthrough in talks amid the public messaging campaign, and NBCUniversal said Thursday evening that it had granted a short-term extension within the original deadline.
Earlier this week, it appeared that YouTube TV could lose its legal rights to broadcast NBCUniversal’s channels, including regional sports channels and broadcasters affiliated with the NBC network. Google, which owns YouTube TV, had opposed NBCUniversal’s demands for higher fees.
The two sides did not announce any terms for the new contract of carriage on Saturday.
The skirmish between the two media giants is the latest flare-up in the television industry’s longstanding carriage wars.
A failure of NBCUniversal channels on YouTube TV would have been a major disruption to subscribers to the popular four-year-old linear channel service, which analysts estimate has around 4 million subscribers.
“If NBCU offers us fair terms, we will renew our agreement with them,” YouTube TV said in a blog post earlier this week. “NBCU is an important partner for us.”
Amid a migration of traditional subscribers, television station owners, including NBCUniversal, have increased the fees they charge distributors in order to keep their TV channels highly profitable. These companies argue that program costs, especially for sports, have skyrocketed – and they need to increase revenue to meet rising expenses.
But TV distributors have resented the constant fee hikes in recent years, arguing that TV programmers are making a difficult situation worse by adding to the rising subscription fees that are irritating to consumers. The distributors have claimed that the programmers inadvertently help drive away valuable customers.
“The proliferation of cable cuts in the US and the continuing decline in viewership in cable networks are making transport agreements difficult,” wrote analysts for market research company S&P Global Market Intelligence in a report in September. “Traditional multichannel operators are facing declining demand with the rise of over-the-top platforms, but cable programmers continue to demand increases in affiliate rates to keep their linear businesses afloat.”
NBCUniversal has used its influence as one of the largest television channel owners in the industry to raise its fees. It is also one of the few major media companies that owns Spanish-language channels.
“NBCUniversal demands fair prices from Google for the continued distribution of the only portfolio of YouTube TV that offers entertainment, Hispanic, news and sports networks,” said the media company of Comcast Corp. Earlier this week in a statement.
On Thursday, satellite television giant Dish Networks announced that it had retired three regional sports networks owned by AT&T: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, which broadcasts the Colorado Rockies games; AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh Conducting Pittsburgh Pirates Games; and Root Sports Northwest, which carries the Seattle Mariners and Portland Timbers.
“The current [regional sports network] Model is fundamentally broken, “said Brian Neylon, group president of Dish TV, in the company’s statement. “With this model, almost all customers have to pay for RSNs if only a small percentage of customers actually see them.”