YouTube TV And ViacomCBS Expand Carriage Deal, Adding 14 Networks


YouTube and ViacomCBS have revealed an expanded, multi-year distribution deal that will add 14 new networks to the tech giant’s YouTube TV service.

The agreement will keep CBS broadcast stations, CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel and The CW on the bundle and also add BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land and VH1 in the summer. At a later point, another batch of networks joining a premium tier will include ET Her, MTV2, Nick Jr., NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic.

Premium subscription services, including Showtime’s streaming service, will also be offered through YouTube TV under the deal as well as broader promotions across other parts of YouTube.

With more than 2 million subscribers, YouTube TV is one of the fastest-rising of the services once called “skinny bundles.” Along with Hulu’s live pay-TV offering and Sling TV, it is one of the more viable attempts to offer a pay-TV experience over the internet, without a contract or equipment.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The notion of Viacom programming circulating ever more widely across YouTube will amuse any student of media business history. In 2007, Viacom sued YouTube, then a scrappy startup, for $1 billion. It complained that the company had tacitly approved uploads of its programming to the video site in violation of copyright laws. The high-profile case was settled in 2014. Over the intervening years, Viacom (now ViacomCBS) has become one of YouTube’s most active collaborators in promoting both linear and digital originals, making its presence on YouTube TV entirely logical.

“We are thrilled to have reached an expanded agreement with YouTube TV that recognizes the full power of our newly combined portfolio as ViacomCBS,” said ViacomCBS U.S. networks distribution chief Ray Hopkins. “Google has been an excellent partner, and we look forward to bringing even more of our entertainment networks to YouTube TV subscribers for the first time.”

Lori Conkling, global head of partnerships at YouTube TV, said the new agreement “delivers on our promise to offer a premium portfolio of content to our YouTube TV subscribers, as well as across the YouTube platforms.”

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