YouTube TV, NBCUniversal Debacle sounds like an omen

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If you are a YouTube TV user and you like it Sunday Night FootballYou’ve probably spent the past few days wondering if you’ll be able to stream this weekend’s game.

If you’re not the type to follow business negotiations between multinationals (why might you? I’m just following it because it’s literally my job), here’s a primer: earlier this week, it turns out the YouTube TV contract should have offered more than 14 A channel from NBCUniversal — NBC, Telemundo, MSNBC, Golf, etc. — was scheduled to expire Thursday. Negotiations are reportedly deadlocked, and if the companies can’t work out a deal, all of these NBCU channels will disappear from YouTube TV streams. It appears that the NBCU wanted YouTube’s parent company, Google, to combine its streaming service, Peacock, with YouTube TV. In the meantime, the streaming service wanted “the same rates that similarly sized services get from the NBCU so we can continue to offer YouTube TV to members at a fair price,” According to the blog. On Thursday, the companies agreed to “shortTo maintain NBCU channels on YouTube TV.

Despite the result of this dusting, it was a harbinger of the fact that navigating the broadcast wars really doesn’t look any different than navigating cable. Or, like our colleagues at Ars Technica put itThe controversy is a reminder that common cable and satellite TV bundling practices may not be eliminated by the rise of streaming services. The broadcast was supposed to help cut the rope; More and more, it looks like the rope has just been replaced.

Yes, we have it in WIRED She said A copy of this before. Earlier this year, I argued that as media companies consolidate, consumers would eventually end up with three other big companies — that CBS, ABC and NBC would eventually lose ground to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+. This still seems somewhat likely. But the new battleground that YouTube TV and NBCU fracas are opening up is centered on carriers. The whole promise of streaming was that content providers could go directly to the consumer. Want everything Disney has? Get Disney+. Do you love nature shows and house diversions? Get Discovery +. But there are now so many services that viewers and companies are desperate to find ways, in industry parlance, to bundle them — something that might sound like déjà vu to anyone who’s tried making the tough decisions involved in choosing between basic or premium cable packages.

Take, for example, Hulu. The service has become something of a powerful streaming game for quite some time now. But people forget that it started as an effort by the parent companies of NBC, ABC, and Fox to bring these channels on a Netflix-like service. It was meant to be a way for the old networks to participate in the broadcasting process. In 2019, after Disney finalized its $71 billion acquisition of Fox, it took control of Hulu in a separate arrangement with NBCUniversal’s parent company Comcast. Now, consumers can get Hulu in a bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+, since ESPN, of course, is also Disney property. There is also now FX on Hulu, which gives Hulu subscribers access to a lot of Fox’s premium content. Disney Channel, ESPN, FX? If this doesn’t sound like a bundle of cables in the past, nothing does.

This is where things get hairy. As part of Disney’s deal to take control of Hulu, Comcast agreed to continue licensing NBCUniversal content to Hulu until 2024, but the NBCU retained the rights to withdraw some of its software that was licensed exclusively to Hulu. With the launch of Peacock last year, it made sense that the NBCU would eventually want a lot of its software on that service to enhance its appeal to consumers.

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