Carriage disputes between cable/satellite providers and TV broadcasters seem to happen all the time. Generally, we associate those with Regional Sports Networks and the ability to watch local sports teams. However, the most recent dispute involves a streaming service and a major television broadcaster.
This most recent disagreement involves YouTube TV and NBCUniversal. The two American giants must come to an agreement prior to Thursday’s deadline. Furthermore, a failure to reach a deal means YouTube TV will remove all of NBCUniversal’s channels from their platform. Consequently, there would be a significant loss of content, including soccer coverage, for the service’s subscribers.
YouTube TV potentially losing chunk of channels
NBCUniversal currently owns 14 different channels that could no longer be available on YouTube TV. In fact, sports fans that follow the Premier League would lose almost all of their content. NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, Telemundo and Universo, all of which held Premier League games this season, are at risk. Moreover, channels like MSNBC, E!, Golf Channel, CNBC, SYFY and Bravo could be gone without a deal.
This week, NBCUniversal released a statement regarding their position in the standoff between the two media conglomerates.
“NBCUniversal is seeking fair rates from Google for YouTube TV’s continued carriage of the only portfolio offering entertainment, Hispanic, news, and sports networks. Unfortunately, Google is refusing to make a deal at these fair rates and is willing to withhold entertainment, news and sports programming from their paying customers. NBCUniversal feels a responsibility to inform our fans that they are at risk of losing their favorite shows if Google continues with their demands.”
Contrarily, YouTube TV also released a statement regarding their stance on the issue. The service is not like a normal cable provider, and it believes NBCUniversal is not providing a fair price.
“Our ask is that NBCU treats YouTube TV like any other TV provider. In other words, for the duration of our agreement, YouTube TV seeks the same rates that services of a similar size get from NBCU so we can continue offering YouTube TV to members at a competitive and fair price.”
According to an official communication from the streaming service, YouTube TV subscribers will not pay for channels they do not have access to. If the two companies fail to come to an agreement, the service will temporarily lower their rates. The service plans to lower their rates from $64.99 per month to $54.99. This price reduction would last until NBCUniversal’s channels reappear on the service’s lineup.
Timing is never good for these kinds of disputes; however, in this particular case, the timing couldn’t be any worse. NBC carries Sunday Night Football. With the current NFL season only starting a few weeks ago, subscribers could be set to miss most of NBC’s games this season.
NBC also owns the U.S. television rights to the English Premier League. If the service drops the NBC networks this week, soccer fans would miss out on quite possibly the marquee matchup of the entire season on Sunday: Liverpool versus Manchester City.
Not only would Premier League fans that currently pay for YouTube TV miss out on a massive match this weekend, but they could potentially be locked out of hundreds of Premier League games throughout the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign.
While Peacock does show select Premier League matches, it wouldn’t be an option in this case because matches that are televised on NBCSN are not available live on Peacock.
Another option is to consider switching to fuboTV, which includes all of the NBC channels as well as all of the beIN SPORTS channels, FOX, FS1, FS2, ESPN, ESPN2 and more soccer-related networks. fuboTV is currently offering a free 7-day trial.
YouTube TV launched in 2017 and has grown to become one of the most popular live television streaming services in America. The Google-owned company reportedly has over 3 million subscribers.
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