If you’re a subscriber to Google’s YouTube TV service your channel offerings are about to get a lot lighter. The reason? A carriage dispute between NBCUniversal (NBCU) and YouTube over the cost NBCU says its content is worth.
If NBCU and YouTube cannot agree to new terms, YouTube TV subscribers will lose access to over a dozen NBCU channels available on the service within days. Those channels include NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, Golf Channel, MSNBC, Oxygen, SYFY, Telemundo, the Olympic Channel, Universal Kids, Universo, and USA Network. Additionally, YouTube TV subscribers with access to regional NBCU sports channels could lose access to the following: NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Philadelphia, SNY, and NBC Sports Washington.
It’s unknown how much NBCU thinks its carriage rights are worth on YouTube TV, but the company released a statement (via Deadline) that shows it’s willing to play hardball if it doesn’t get what it thinks is a fair deal: “NBCUniversal is seeking fair rates from Google for YouTube TV’s continued carriage of the only portfolio offering entertainment, Hispanic, news, and sports networks. Unfortunately, Google is refusing to make a deal at these fair rates and is willing to withhold entertainment, news and sports programming from their paying customers. NBCUniversal feels a responsibility to inform our fans that they are at risk of losing their favorite shows if Google continues with their demands.”
NBCU has even launched a website urging YouTube TV customers to contact YouTube TV directly about the issue, while also suggesting alternatives to Google’s service. But Google appears to be willing to play hardball, too. In a YouTube blog post, the company says that if it cannot reach an “equitable agreement” with NBCU, it will drop NBCU’s channels and compensate subscribers by reducing YouTube TV’s monthly price from $64.99 to $54.99.
“While we would love every member to continue to stay with our service, we understand that you may still choose to pause or cancel your membership,” the YouTube blog post read. “We want to make YouTube TV flexible, so members can pause or cancel anytime. We will give you updates as negotiations continue.”
YouTube TV’s and NBCU’s current contract expires in just days—on Thursday, September 30.