nctcIn a sign of the times, two NCTC OTT deals were announced at this week’s Independent Show, taking place in Indianapolis. The two deals will allow NCTC members to resell OTT services from Sony PlayStation Vue and fuboTV, both of which are considered vMVPDs, offering an OTT streaming alternative to traditional pay-TV services.

The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) is a buying consortium, representing over 800 independent cable and broadband providers, who collectively reach over 9 million subscribers. Financial terms of these deals were not disclosed.

The idea that a buying consortium of small cable companies would be in the business of reselling alternatives to cable TV service would be unheard of maybe five or so years ago. But in today’s environment where broadband service is now key, and video service is margin challenged and often looked at as a loss leader, deals like this are not surprising.

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Many smaller cable companies are questioning their future in the video business, and subsequently putting more emphasis on broadband. As a result, NCTC is looking for ways to bring a diverse set of programming and applications to its members and OTT is very much in the mix.

“This partnership gives our members the ability to provide added value to their broadband customers, while also providing more content options for our members, who will now have access to a turnkey OTT video bundle that includes some of the most popular sports, news and entertainment channels on TV,” said John Childress, NCTC’s Vice President of Product Management in a fuboTV press release announcing the deal. “There is growing demand from certain consumer groups towards live streaming video services, and we feel these partnerships help provide members options to reach these different types of consumers.”

Sony OTT nationwide expansion
PlayStation Vue Interface (Source: Sony PlayStation Website)

Of the two, Sony PlayStation Vue is the more established vMVPD player, offering a channel line-up, VoD, and a cloud DVR service, starting at $40 per month. FuboTV has a similar approach, but tries to differentiate itself with sports, offering both U.S. based sports programming, but also brings deep European based soccer programming. FuboTV offers an introductory price of $34.99 per month, and the deal allows NCTC members to offer multiple free 30 day trials.

Both streaming services offer local broadcast channels and regional sports networks, although they are limited to select markets. They also both support multiple streaming media players and mobile devices.

The vMVPD field is becoming quite crowded. In addition to these options, there is AT&T’s DIRECTV NOW, DISH’s SlingTV, Google’s YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, and CenturyLink’s Stream. More are expected.

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