ViacomCBS Sets Expanded Distribution Deal With Disney’s Hulu + Live TV

ViacomCBS has set an expanded distribution deal with Disney’s Hulu + Live TV, which is now the fifth-largest U.S. pay-TV provider.

Financial terms of the multi-year agreement were not disclosed. It continues carriage for CBS broadcast stations, CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel, and the CW, as well as Showtime’s pay streaming service. The deal also adds BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, VH1, CMT, Nick Jr., TV Land, BET Her, MTV2, NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic to the streaming bundle.

Disney reported last November that Hulu + Live TV, which launched in 2017, has 4.1 million subscribers, making it the No. 5 U.S. pay-TV distributor. It is the leader in the internet-delivered bundle sector, ahead of YouTube TV and Sling TV, its closest rivals.

Since the merger of Viacom and CBS in December 2018, the combined company has secured distribution deals with YouTube TV as well as Comcast, Dish and Verizon, plus affiliate deals with major station owners Nexstar, Meredith, Cox and Sinclair. When CEO Bob Bakish took the helm at Viacom several years ago, he made distribution a priority after it had languished under predecessor Philippe Dauman.

All major TV programmers face increasing pressure on distribution and advertising revenue from their legacy linear networks. Like its peers, ViacomCBS is increasingly emphasizing streaming, planning to roll out a rebranded Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) later this year as it manages through ongoing declines in viewership and advertising in the traditional pay-TV bundle.

“We are excited to have reached an expanded agreement with Hulu that underscores the value of our powerful portfolio of brands to next-generation TV platforms and viewers,” said Ray Hopkins, President, U.S. Networks Distribution, ViacomCBS. “Hulu continues to be a great partner, and this agreement ensures that Hulu + Live TV subscribers are now able to enjoy the full breadth of our leading content across news, sports and entertainment for the first time.”

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