NBC is one of several NBCUniversal channels running prominent banner ads on YouTube TV streams, warning customers that they could lose access over a carriage dispute with Google. The banner lists over a dozen channels that could disappear if a deal isn’t reached by Wednesday, September 30th, and directs customers to an NBCU-owned website offering various ways to pressure Google. These include a pre-written tweet directed at YouTube TV, links to Google’s customer support, and a tool to find alternative providers.
“Attention YouTube TV Customers,” the banner, which runs roughly every 10 minutes, reads, “YouTube may drop 14+ channels including NBC, Telemundo, USA, SYFY, Bravo, Oxygen, MSNBC, NBCSN, CNBC, GOLF Channel, and E!. Go to YouNeedChannels.com and tell YouTube TV not to drop your favorite channels.” NBCU warns that regional NBC Sports networks may also be affected, including NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Philadelphia, SNY and NBC Sports Washington.
Responding via a blog post, Google says negotiations are ongoing and that it’s seeking the “the same rates that services of a similar size get from NBCU” and for YouTube TV to be treated like “any other TV provider.” Google added that if it’s unable to reach an agreement it’ll drop its US prices by $10 (bringing its monthly price down from $64.99 to $54.99) while NBCU’s lineup is off the service. Google says that customers are free to cancel anytime and can sign up for Peacock separately for $4.99 a month.
Variety reports that there are several points of contention in the ongoing negotiations. NBCU is reportedly asking for higher rates for its channels than Google is willing to pay, and wants YouTube TV to bundle NBC’s Peacock video streaming service.
“NBCUniversal is seeking fair rates from Google for YouTube TV’s continued carriage of the only portfolio offering entertainment, Hispanic, news and sports networks,” NBCU told Variety in a statement. “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.”
This is just the latest high profile dispute YouTube TV has found itself in this year. However, during its clash with Roku it was Google that was the content provider, and Roku that was providing the platform. The situation saw Google’s YouTube TV app removed from the Roku channel store, only for Google to respond by letting its customers access YouTube TV from its regular YouTube app.
Disclosure: Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, is also an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.