Google’s planned Unplugged live streaming service appears to be homing in on carriage deals with all of the major broadcast network owners following the agreement with CBS that surfaced yesterday.
That includes Comcast’s NBCUniversal which is in advanced conversations to include NBC, Telemundo and many if not all of its cable networks on the Google service, we hear.
The NBCU portfolio includes USA, E!, Bravo Syfy, MSNBC, CNBC, and NBC Sports Network.
Disney and Fox were said yesterday to be close behind CBS — whose arrangement also included CBS-owned Pop and CBS Sports Network, but not The CW, which CBS co-owns with Warner Bros.
The absence of NBCU in the list seemed to suggest that there was a hangup — possibly due to its connection to the No. 1 cable operator which might be hurt by the rise of an online video rival.
But the three network owning companies are on similar trajectories in talks with Google, although each has unique concerns that might affect the timing of their agreements.
Comcast, Disney, and Fox co-own Hulu, which plans to launch its own virtual pay TV service early next year.
That’s one reason why Google’s deal with CBS was significant.
“Hulu has been balking at CBS’s premium pricing terms” making it unclear whether it could keep its promise to investors to secure about $4 per subscriber per month by 2020, UBS analyst Doug Mitchelson says. Indeed, Hulu considered leaving CBS out since those who want it online can buy it via CBS All Access.
Google’s deal with CBS “will pressure others to fall in line and settle this issue, which we view as a meaningful positive for CBS,” Mitchelson adds.