NBCUniversal And YouTube TV Reach Carriage Deal, Avoid Blackout

NBCUniversal and YouTube TV have reached a carriage agreement a day after the previous one expired, enabling 14 NBCU networks to avoid going dark.

The companies had been at odds in recent days over a number of networks, including regional sports outlets, the broadcast mother ship and local stations. Late Thursday, they agreed to a short extension to try to consummate a deal.

No statements have emerged as of yet, and sources indicated that the deal was in the final stages but things appear to be falling into place. Deadline will update the story when the parties say more and details become more clear.

One sticking point in negotiations had been the integration of NBCU streaming service Peacock into the YouTube interface. YouTube had resisted acceding to that demand because of concerns about the user experience and the idea of encouraging customers to potentially pay twice for some of the same content.

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YouTube TV, which has heavily promoted its four-year-old, internet-delivered TV package, claimed to have surpassed 3 million subscribers as of late-2020. That makes it the No. 2 streaming TV bundle after Disney’s Hulu + Live TV. Like others in the internet pay-TV sector, YouTube has had to raise prices as programming costs have risen. Even so, its user experience, features, lack of contract obligation and somewhat more modest cost structure compared with traditional cable or satellite TV continues to appeal to many customers.

Programming this time of year includes a number of significant ratings draws, at least on paper, including live sports and primetime premieres. NFL Sunday Night Football this week on NBC will feature Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting the New England Patriots in Brady’s return to Foxboro, MA, where he quarterbacked the Patriots for 20 years. The show has been the top ratings draw in primetime for years, but this Sunday’s game could over-index even by the usual lofty standards of the timeslot.

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