Friday, April 14, 2017

Report: Non-Sports TV Web Bundles Coming

Cable programmers including Viacom Inc., Discovery Communications Inc. and AMC Networks Inc. are in talks with pay-TV distributors about creating new online TV services for consumers who don’t want to pay for sports, according to Bloomberg.

The media companies have explored offering entertainment-only packages over the internet with four to six pay-TV providers, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the private negotiations. The talks are at various stages, but at least one service could be introduced this year, the person said.

Channel owners hurt by subscriber losses want to be part of new web-based video services as people drop pricey pay-TV packages for cheaper options, yet some have been left out of new “skinny” bundles. Viacom and Discovery, for example, aren’t part of YouTube’s live TV service or Hulu’s upcoming package. While sports is the most popular live programming, it’s also the most expensive.

Sports-free TV would cost less than $20 a month, according to one person. That’s about half the expected price of Hulu’s upcoming live TV service and YouTube’s new TV package, which came out last week. Both YouTube and Hulu are offering or looking to offer about 40 channels, including ESPN and broadcasters like NBC, Fox and CBS that rely heavily on sports. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the service was designed “to be great for sports lovers.”

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