A contract dispute between YouTube TV and NBC Universal could result in the Peacock Network dropping 14 of its channels from the streaming TV provider by September 30, both services warned on Sunday, which would leave the platform’s more than 3 million subscribers without access to programming like Sunday Night Football, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Law and Order SVU.
According to a blog published by Google-owned YouTube acknowledging the stalemate, the two companies have thus far been unable to reach an “equitable agreement” in negotiations to renew their existing contract, which is set to expire on Thursday, September 30. If a new deal isn’t reached in time, YouTube TV subscribers risk losing out on NBCU’s valuable lineup, which currently includes channels like NBC, MSNBC, USA Network, Golf Channel, Bravo, CNBC, Telemundo, and others.
“Our ask is that NBCU treats YouTube TV like any other TV provider,” YouTube wrote in a statement. “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.”
Perhaps not shockingly, NBCUniversal characterised the dispute differently in its own statement; according to 9to5Google, the company says it’s seeking “fair rates” for its streaming bundle from Google, which is thus far “refusing to make a deal … and willing to withhold entertainment, news, and sports programming from their paying customers.”
If the deadline arrives and no agreement has been reached, YouTube TV says it will be dropping monthly prices by $US10 ($14) a month — from $US64.99 ($89) to $US54.99 ($76) — for as long as the content remains off the platform. YouTube TV also notes that users are also welcome to subscribe to NBC’s own direct-to-consumer streaming service, Peacock, for $US4.99 ($7)/month.
This isn’t the first time a carriage deal has created a very public dispute for YouTube TV in recent months. Back in May, the platform publicly sparred with Sinclair over carriage fees for its regional sports networks, which have since disappeared from the platform altogether. It’s also worth noting that internet streaming bundle deals, in general, are sort of a headache for platforms, since the frequent contract renegotiations they require often compel platforms to raise prices for customers, to the point where monthly subscription prices have now drawn nearly level to the price of traditional pay-TV.