The live TV streaming ecosystem got a little more cramped at the tail end of November with the launch of DIRECTV Now. While ABC, NBC, and Fox were available at launch — at least in some markets — CBS was notably absent. Whether the network would ever be available has been up in the air, but CBS CEO Les Moonves says a deal could still happen, according to Deadline.
“I’m assuming we’ll be able to make a deal with them,” Moonves told investors at the UBS Media and Communications Conference in New York on Monday, adding that the situation was more complex than in may seem at first, since the matter of just what rights the deal would cover was still unclear. “It’s not just economic factors,” he said.
Despite remaining open to the idea of working with DIRECTV NOW, Moonves couldn’t resist taking a shot at the streaming service, saying its claim that it offers local channels isn’t fair, since it only covers a small portion of the available markets, “which is 20 percent of the country,” he said. “So it isn’t everybody.”
Moonves also called the service’s pricing into question. “There’s no way it can last a whole long time at $35 for 80 channels,” he said. He then pointed to DIRECTV offering HBO and Cinemax for $5 a month and said customers shouldn’t expect the same for Showtime, which is a subsidiary of CBS. “They’re not going to get Showtime at $5 a sub,” he said.
It turns out that Moonves was indeed right about the pricing. While introductory offers made DIRECTV Now’s Go Big plan — which offers over 100 channels — available for $35, that offer has ended. The Go Big package now costs $60 for new subscribers, though those who jumped on the offer initially will continue to pay $35 per month for the immediate future, though the plug could be pulled on this deal at any time. The service does offer the Live A Little plan for $35 per month, though this only includes 60 channels.
Even with Moonves seeming less than thrilled with the matter, the news of a possible CBS deal comes at a good time for DIRECTV Now. While the service offers more channels for less money than the competition in many cases, DIRECTV Now had a rough first week, plagued by bugs and less-than-stellar reviews. More programming won’t fix all of the service’s problems, but it certainly can’t hurt in terms of public perception.
Updated on 01-11-2017 by Kris Wouk: Edited to clarity that DIRECTV Now’s Go Big plan now costs new subscribers $60 per month.