NBCUniversal/YouTube TV deal: Winners and losers


Cooler heads prevailed in what was looking to be another ugly TV carriage dispute, with NBCUniversal and YouTube TV hammering out a deal over the weekend that kept more than a dozen NBCU channels streaming on Google’s live TV service.

For YouTube TV subscribers, the deal (which was reached Saturday after the two sides agreed to a brief extension following Friday night’s deadline) essentially means business as usual: Users will still get access to their local NBC affiliates, as well as such NBCU channels as Bravo, CNBC, E!, MSNBC, SYFY, Telemundo, and USA Network, not to mention NBC’s regional sports networks and NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Also, YouTube TV’s monthly subscription rate—$65—will remain the same. YouTube TV had pledged to lower its rates by $10 a month if NBCU channels had been yanked from its lineup; in the end, that didn’t happen.

But while nothing has changed on the surface, the NBCU/YouTube TV deal has far-reaching implications for the streaming-TV industry, and as the dust settles, some players came out on top while others are licking their wounds. Let’s take a look at who won and who lost.

Winner: YouTube TV

Google’s streaming TV service held firm in its negotiations with NBCU, staring down the latter’s proposal for forcing YouTube TV subscribers to pony up $10 a month for Peacock Premium in addition to the standard $65-per-month subscription for YouTube TV.

Our own Jared Newman has pointed out that there isn’t much overlap between Peacock, NBCU’s standalone streaming service, and NBCU’s live channels. But YouTube TV feared that users would feel like they were being charged twice for the same content, not to mention having Peacock foisted upon them.

Besides the Peacock bundling brouhaha, NBCU was reportedly looking to boost the carriage fees for its channels on YouTube TV, and traditionally, those increases get passed on to subscribers. But while details of the deal aren’t public, it’s telling that YouTube TV isn’t raising its subscription rate at this time.

Finally, YouTube TV deftly parried the threat of an NBCU blackout with its pledge to lower its fees if the two sides failed to reach a deal. The move made YouTube look calm, reasonable, and fair, and it won over many cord-cutters who might otherwise have sided with NBC.


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