Viacom says this morning that its networks, including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and BET, will be carried by AT&T’s planned DirecTV Now streaming service — an apparent break for the programmer at a time when investors are questioning the prospects for its services.
The companies didn’t disclose financial terms, but say that Viacom’s “premiere networks” will run on the platform AT&T plans to introduce by year end. The list also includes VH1, Spike, CMT, TV Land, Nick at Nite, Nick Jr., and Logo.
“The diversity of content makes Viacom Networks’ programming a great fit,” says AT&T Chief Content Officer Dan York.
The company’s new service will enable users to access and stream live and on-demand programming on mobile devices or in the home.
CEO Randall Stephenson told an investor group last month that DirecTV Now will offer more than 100 channels at “a very, very aggressive price.” For AT&T’s wireless customers “your data cost will be incorporated into your content cost.”
The telco chief added that the company used its clout as the largest domestic television provider to secure low prices from programmers. Even so, profit margins on DirecTV Now will be “thinner than what we’re accustomed to.”
The announcement may reassure Viacom investors somewhat. Its networks have been losing eyeballs and ad dollars, which seemed to make them vulnerable when distributors are crafting so-called skinny bundle programming packages designed to appeal to cost-conscious consumers. Some small cable operators including Suddenlink and Cable One have dropped Viacom, and said that it helped their bottom line.