It’s no secret that streaming OTT services like Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, and PlayStation Vue are on the rise and beginning to offer a legitimate OTT alternative to traditional subscription pay TV packages. But outside of a few major cities, these streaming offers have struggled to offer local broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates in particular) in their streaming channel line-ups, putting them at a competitive disadvantage to traditional cable, IPTV, and DBS offers. It doesn’t look like this scenario will last much longer though.
CBS just announced an agreement that significantly expands the potential carriage of CBS affiliates on these streaming OTT options. The agreement opens the door for 200+ CBS affiliates across the country to make their feed available to multiple OTT streaming efforts, including CBS’ own CBS All Access streaming platform.
“With this new collaborative agreement, affiliated stations are joining with CBS to distribute premium content to new “skinny bundles” reaching viewers coast-to-coast across multiple platforms and screens anytime and anywhere,” said a CBS press release.
Specific terms of the deal were not revealed, but it surely involves the sharing of retransmission revenue for local affiliates with the parent CBS company, who negotiates these master deals on their behalf. Affiliates will be able to opt in or out of specific deals with streaming OTT providers. CBS also announced a new bundled offer of their OTT CBS All Access channel with Showtime for $15/month.
“Viewers in 90% of the country can receive their local CBS affiliate through CBS All Access, and that number is expected to grow under the new pact,” CBS reports in their press release.
Dwindling Pay TV Competitive Advantage
Previously, cable and IPTV operators outside of network owned and operated markets could use the absence of local broadcast signals on these streaming platforms to their competitive advantage. We all know how important local channels are to any pay TV line-up. With agreements like this, it appears that advantage may begin to dwindle. Both ABC and NBC have signed similar agreements as well.
PlayStation Vue had already negotiated a similar pact with CBS, which made CBS affiliates available in over 100 markets on the OTT platform. That number is expected to grow now. Newer streaming platforms from Hulu and YouTube were specifically cited by CBS as participating in this new deal.