YouTube TV and NBCUniversal agree to short extension

There’s a brief bit of good news in the saga of YouTube TV and NBC Universal, which was evident to subscribers who awoke on October 1 and found that they hadn’t lost access to NBC and a dozen other channels.

The overnight email from NBCUniversal was to the point:

“NBCUniversal and YouTube TV have agreed to a short extension while parties continue talks. NBCUniversal will not go dark on YouTube TV at midnight Eastern tonight.”

So that’s that.

NBC on YouTube TV
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

No word on how long of a reprieve YouTube TV customers may get before possibly losing NBC and a dozen other channels, which include Bravo, CNBC, E!, Golf Channel, MSNBC, Oxygen, SYFY, Telemundo, The Olympic Channel, Universal Kids, Universo, and USA Network.

Should that ultimately happen, YouTube TV has said that it will lower its monthly price by $10 to $55 while the NBCUniversal channels are gone.

This sort of contract disagreement between the company that provides the channels and the service that carries the channels is hardly unknown. It’s fairly regular to see on-screen crawls imploring customers to call their cable or satellite company to demand that the company do whatever it can to keep the channels, and thus the shows that are on those channels. NBCUniversal has employed that method, as well as a website — YouNeedChannels.com — in this dispute. YouTube TV for its part put out a blog post on September 26 explaining its side of the story, writing that “Our ask is that NBCU treats YouTube TV like any other TV provider. In other words, for the duration of our agreement, YouTube TV seeks the same rates that services of similar size get from NBCU so we can continue offering YouTube TV to members at a competitive and fair price.”

YouTube TV parent company Google reported in October 2020 that the service had more than 3 million customers. It didn’t get any more specific than that, and it has not since updated those numbers. Hulu With Live TV, which reports new subscriber numbers as part of parent company Disney’s quarterly earnings, most recently reported some 3.7 million paid subscribers as of July 3, 2021. Sling TV reported 2.44 million subscribers as of June 30, 2021.

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