NBCUniversal contract dispute with YouTube TV
October 2021 Update: NBCUniversal and YouTube TV resolve dispute and YouTube TV subscribers’ service goes unaffected. Terms of agreement were not disclosed.
NBCUniversal initiated a contract dispute with YouTube TV, threatening to remove 13 channels unless YouTube TV agreed to pay more money. The current situation is that Google’s YouTube TV and Comcast-owned NBCUniversal have agreed to a short-term extension that would keep the 14 channels within YouTube TV for now. Both YouTube TV and NBCUniversal issued public statements about the dispute.
Why NBCUniversal channels could be blacked-out?
Cable and Satellite price increases and blackouts on giant cable companies like Comcast Xfinity, Dish Network, and AT&T DirecTV happen every few months as contract renewals happen. While this happens less frequently with streaming service providers like YouTube TV; they are not immune to the same rising TV content costs. The streaming service distributors (ex. YouTube TV) have to license the content from content providers (ex. NBCUniversal).
Multiple industry sources cite that Comcast’s NBCUniversal is trying to force YouTube TV to carry their new streaming service Peacock to be included in YouTube TV’s bundle. The dispute isn’t about whether to include the channels, but instead it’s over how much YouTube TV should pay for that content.
What channels are affected by the NBCUniversal contract dispute?
The 13 channels are NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, Golf Channel, MSNBC, Oxygen, SYFY, Telemundo, The Olympic Channel, Universal Kids, Universo, and USA Network. And this may include the NBC Sports Regional Networks (not in CO).
NBCUniversal’s statement about the contract dispute.
Cord Cutter News reported that NBCUniversal released this official statement to them:
“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.”
YouTube TV released the following statement on social media and the YouTube TV blog:
“We know you love watching Sunday Night Football, spending your weeknights with Jimmy Fallon, and binge watching Law and Order SVU. That’s why we’ve been working to renew our deal with NBCUniversal to continue carrying their content on YouTube TV. Since our agreement expires on Thursday, September 30, and we haven’t yet been able to reach an equitable agreement, we wanted to give you an early heads up so you understand your choices.
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.”
What to do if NBCUniversal channels are no longer available within YouTube TV?
There are alternatives to getting NBCUniversal channels. While we hope this dispute gets resolved and the disruption to consumers is minimized, please read our blog “Watch NBCUniversal channels without expensive cable or satellite.”