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New deal may mean more local NBC channels are coming to live TV streaming services

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Streaming services like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now are making it easier than ever to cut the cord and live a cable-free lifestyle, but they do require making a few sacrifices. Local channels are one of those sacrifices, with only a handful of local affiliates supported by most services. NBCUniversal is working toward fixing this problem through a new agreement that could bring many more local NBC affiliates to streaming services, Variety reports.

NBC has reached an agreement with the board representing individual affiliates that opts those affiliates in to NBCUniversal’s deals with streaming services. The new deal isn’t limited to a single service either, so it should benefit any streaming TV service that has deals in place with NBCUniversal. This includes Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, and the recently launched YouTube TV. Hulu’s upcoming live TV streaming service should benefit as well.

“We are happy to once again reinforce NBC’s commitment to and recognition of the value of the affiliate partnership and that of local broadcasters. This agreement in the digital space reaffirms that commitment,” Jean Dietze, NBC president of affiliate relations

While this is a boon for existing streaming services, it could also be important if NBCUniversal parent company Comcast decides to launch a streaming service of its own, as was rumored last month. Another potential streaming service was reported by Bloomberg earlier this week, but it seems like it would be more of a Netflix-style video-

on-demand offering instead of live TV, so it likely wouldn’t benefit from the agreement.

“We believe that [over-the-top] distribution can play an important role in ensuring the growth and development of local, network-affiliated television stations. We appreciate NBC’s forward-looking approach to growing our historic partnership,” Ralph Oakley, chairman of the NBC Television Affiliates Board and CEO of Quincy Newspapers, said.

There is no clear indication of when we may begin to see the results of this agreement, but chances are good that as soon as live TV streaming services can provide more local channels, they will.

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