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YouTube TV may get $10 cheaper — but lose a bunch of channels

YouTube TV could lose a bunch of channels this week if its parent company, Google, fails to hammer out a last-minute deal with NBCUniversal, owned by Comcast, to carry its programming.

Discussions have stalled over pricing, with the two companies unable to agree on a fair rate for the entertainment giant’s content.

If the matter isn’t resolved by Thursday, September 30, YouTube TV subscribers will lose access to NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, Golf Channel, MSNBC, Oxygen, SYFY, Telemundo, The Olympic Channel, Universal Kids, Universo, and USA Network. A raft of NBC Sports regional networks will also vanish from the service.

YouTube TV on a Google Pixel phone.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

That’s a lot of programming for those signed up to YouTube TV so if it happens, Google said it will lop $10 off the monthly subscription fee, bringing it down to $55 starting October 1.

But hopefully, it won’t come to that.

“We’ve been working to renew our deal with NBCUniversal to continue carrying their content on YouTube TV,” Google explained in a blog post on Sunday, September 26.

It said it wants NBCU to treat YouTube TV “like any other TV provider,” adding that it’s seeking “the same rates that services of a similar size get from NBCU.”

Commenting on the impasse, NBCUniversal said it’s seeking “fair rates” from Google for the continued use of its programming, adding: “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.”

NBCU has even set up a website called “you need channels” aimed at putting pressure on Google to agree to terms. The website suggests YouTube TV subscribers tweet the video streaming behemoth with the message: “Don’t drop my favorite channels like NBC, Telemundo, USA, Bravo, MSNBC, NBCSN, Golf Channel, SYFY and more. I deserve the channels I pay for!” A link for switching streaming providers is also offered.

It’s not clear if Google wants a price cut or NBCU wants to increase its fee, but either way, they’ve so far been unable to come to an agreement. Digital Trends has reached out to both companies for more information and we will update this article when we hear back.

Google confirmed in its post on Sunday that the two companies are still in talks as they work to resolve the issue before Thursday’s deadline.

YouTube TV launched in 2017 and currently offers subscribers more than 85 channels. In the company’s Q3 2020 earnings call, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the streaming service had more than 3 million paid subscribers but didn’t get more specific than that. YouTube TV hasn’t given updated numbers since then. Hulu With Live TV — YouTube TV’s closest streaming competitor — last reported 3.7 million subscribers as of August 2021.

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