Tuesday, June 30, 2020

ViacomCBS and Google Announce Expanded Distribution Agreement

ViacomCBS and Google Announce Expanded Distribution Agreement

Comprehensive Deal Introduces 14 Additional ViacomCBS Cable Networks to YouTube TV, Including BET, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon

NEW YORK--ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC) and Google today announced a comprehensive, multi-year distribution agreement to deliver more content from ViacomCBS’ leading portfolio of news, entertainment and sports networks for YouTube TV subscribers. In addition to featuring continued carriage of CBS broadcast stations, CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel, and The CW, the expanded agreement introduces 14 ViacomCBS channels to the live TV and on-demand subscription service.

BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land and VH1 will launch on YouTube TV this summer, providing more than two million subscribers with access to some of the most popular cable brands. BET Her, MTV2, Nick Jr., NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic will also launch on YouTube TV at a later date.

The deal also includes a continued commitment to distribute ViacomCBS’ premium subscription services, including SHOWTIME, on YouTube TV, as well as an extended partnership on the broader YouTube platforms.

Update (6/30) - Google today added Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV and VH1 to YouTube TV. BET Her, MTV2, MTV Classic, Nick Jr., NickToons, and TeenNick are also set to launch on YouTube TV at a later date.

“We are thrilled to have reached an expanded agreement with YouTube TV that recognizes the full power of our newly combined portfolio as ViacomCBS,” said Ray Hopkins, President, U.S. Networks Distribution, ViacomCBS. “Google has been an excellent partner, and we look forward to bringing even more of our entertainment networks to YouTube TV subscribers for the first time.”

"We're excited to launch ViacomCBS' portfolio on YouTube TV this summer, " said Lori Conkling, Global Head of Partnerships at YouTube TV. "Our expanded partnership delivers on our promise to offer a premium portfolio of content to our YouTube TV subscribers, as well as across the YouTube platforms."

YouTube TV is a subscription streaming service that lets you watch live and on-demand TV from 70+ top networks through a simple and award-winning experience. It offers live & local sports, news, shows, movies, and more, and can be watched on any screen (phone, tablet, TV, computer). Membership comes with free unlimited cloud DVR storage space to record all your favorites, personalized watch recommendations, and a family plan with 6 accounts per household so the whole family can enjoy.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

About ViacomCBS

ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC; VIACA) is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates premium content and experiences for audiences worldwide. Driven by iconic consumer brands, its portfolio includes CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, CBS All Access, Pluto TV and Simon & Schuster, among others. The company delivers the largest share of the U.S. television audience and boasts one of the industry’s most important and extensive libraries of TV and film titles. In addition to offering innovative streaming services and digital video products, ViacomCBS provides powerful capabilities in production, distribution and advertising solutions for partners on five continents.

For more information about ViacomCBS, please visit www.viacbs.com and follow @ViacomCBS on social platforms.


About Google

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through products and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, Android, Google Play, Chrome and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world. Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.


From Los Angeles Times:

Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon coming to YouTube TV

Amid the coronavirus crisis, ViacomCBS managed a rare bit of good news: Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, MTV and the Paramount Network are coming to YouTube TV.

The deal, announced Thursday, validates a key motivation to bring the two companies together: America’s most watched TV network, CBS, is strong enough to help lift the weaker Viacom channels when it comes to distribution on pay-TV systems.

Google Inc.'s YouTube TV launched three years ago with the CBS network as an inaugural partner, but the $49.99 a month streaming service didn’t see the need to have MTV, Nickelodeon and the other Viacom channels — until now.

The two companies announced an expanded distribution deal, that kicks in this summer and extends distribution for CBS, Showtime, CW and Pop and also adds 14 Viacom channels. YouTube TV, which has about 2 million subscribers and targets young adults who don’t have cable or satellite TV.

The added distribution “is a clear proof point for the Viacom-CBS combination,” ViacomCBS Chief Executive Bob Bakish said Thursday morning on a conference call with analysts to discuss first-quarter earnings. “ViacomCBS is a resilient company ... and our content is in demand.”

The merger of CBS and Viacom was completed in early December, and its stock has since cratered, falling 60%. But the company’s first-quarter earnings of $516 million, or 84 cents a share, exceeded Wall Street’s expectations. That was down from earnings of $1.96 billion, or $3.20 a share, a year ago.

Revenue of $6.7 billion, down 6% compared with last year, also exceeded estimates. (Last year, CBS televised the Super Bowl in the first quarter, which drove advertising revenue.)

Adjusted earnings were $1.13 a share. Analysts were expecting the company to post earnings of 95 cents a share.

The stronger-than-expected performance led to a rally of ViacomCBS’ shares Thursday. The stock jumped 15% to more than $17 a share in early morning trading.

The company’s Los Angeles-based Paramount Pictures unit turned in a solid quarter. Even though the studio was forced to postpone the release of its highly anticipated “Quiet Place II,” it benefited from “Sonic the Hedgehog,” which brought in $300 million worldwide. Studio revenue increased 11% to $730 million in the quarter.

Licensing revenue grew 18% to $442 million because the studio was cranking out content for other companies. For example, Paramount sold “The Lovebirds” to Netflix in the quarter.

The company said it was aggressively cutting costs, including imposing layoffs and offering buyouts, to achieve cost-savings from the merger.

Meanwhile, analysts have been concerned about a severe drop in advertising revenue because many businesses are shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. On Wednesday, Fox Corp. Chief Executive Lachlan Murdoch startled analysts by saying that local TV station advertising revenue was on pace to be 50% lower in the current April through June period, compared with a year ago.

Five categories of advertisers — automakers, movie studios, restaurants, retail stores and travel companies — have slashed their advertising.

“It’s not as bad as what Fox said, that’s for sure, but it’s not pretty either,” Bakish said, noting the ViacomCBS networks have seen glimmers of hope that advertising will pick up this summer. CBS is expecting the Professional Golf Assn. to resume its season in June.

ViacomCBS and its controlling shareholder Shari Redstone have faced scrutiny over the merits of the combination. Some investors have blasted the merger, because it led to a steep decline in the value of CBS, the stronger of the two companies. The two companies were worth more than $30 billion last year, but now the combined company is worth about $10 billion.

A sweeping class action lawsuit was filed earlier this year in Delaware Chancery Court on behalf of two Pennsylvania institutional investors. The suit contends the deal — to reunite the companies after 13 years apart — was forced to protect the fortunes of the Redstone family and its investment vehicle National Amusements Inc., not rank-and-file CBS shareholders. The Redstone family controls 80% of the voting stock of the combined ViacomCBS, and Redstone now presides over ViacomCBS as its chairwoman.


From the ViacomCBS Newsroom:


Expanded agreement introduces 14 ViacomCBS channels to YouTube TV subscribers.
Every episode of The Daily Show, kids’ favorite Nickelodeon series, and the upcoming third season of Yellowstone are just some of many ViacomCBS favorites that will soon be available on YouTube TV.

As part of a multi-year distribution agreement with Google announced on Thursday, YouTube TV will introduce 14 ViacomCBS channels to its lineup. It will continue to carry CBS broadcast stations, CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel, and The CW.

The deal is the fourth major distribution agreement secured by ViacomCBS in the past few months, demonstrating its post-merger position of strength as well as its commitment to negotiating mutually beneficial terms. Its affiliate renewals with Meredith and Nexstar, finalized in March, ensured continued coverage of CBS stations for more than 10% of U.S. audiences. Its carriage deal with Verizon, announced last month, was the first to include its full portfolio—including Pluto TV—since the ViacomCBS merger last December.

“We are thrilled to have reached an expanded agreement with YouTube TV that recognizes the full power of our newly combined portfolio as ViacomCBS,” said Ray Hopkins, president of ViacomCBS’ U.S. networks distribution. “Google has been an excellent partner, and we look forward to bringing even more of our entertainment networks to YouTube TV subscribers for the first time.”

ViacomCBS networks BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land, and VH1 will launch on YouTube TV this summer. BET Her, MTV2, Nick Jr., NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic will launch later. As well, YouTube TV and broader YouTube platforms will keep distributing ViacomCBS’ premium subscription services, including SHOWTIME.

The move also showcases ViacomCBS’ commitment to maximizing the value of its content and ensuring that audiences are able to watch the content across platforms and price points.

YouTube TV, which costs $49.99 per month, includes live and on-demand content from more than 70 networks.


From the official YouTube blog:

To our YouTube TV members: an update to our content and price

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

In 2017, we introduced YouTube TV, live TV designed for the YouTube generation — those who want to stream TV when and how they want, without commitments. We’ve just passed the three-year mark, so I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on how we’re thinking about YouTube TV.
Since launch, we’ve listened to your feedback and worked to build an experience that fits the needs of everyone in your family, by adding highly-requested content like PBS and Discovery Network brands, including HGTV and Food Network, and launching new features to reinvent how you watch live TV.

As we continue to build a best-in-class experience for you, we have a few updates to share: new content launching today, new features we’ve recently introduced, and an updated price.

More content to enjoy, starting today

Earlier this year, we let you know that we’d soon be adding more of ViacomCBS’s family of brands to YouTube TV, which includes 8 of your favorite channels launching today: BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land and VH1.

That means you can follow the biggest stories in news, politics and pop culture with “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah;” catch up with Catelynn, Cheyenne, Maci, Mackenzie and Amber on “Teen Mom OG;” join the search for America’s next drag superstar with “RuPaul’s Drag Race;” go on an adventure with “SpongeBob SquarePants;” and follow the fictional lives of the Dutton family on the new season of “Yellowstone,” airing now.
BET Her, MTV2, MTV Classic, Nick Jr., NickToons, and TeenNick are also set to come to YouTube TV at a later date.

In addition to our base plan of now more than 85+ channels, we also recently introduced Cinemax and HBO Max, which includes all of HBO plus a robust library of content and original series, to our growing list of add-on channels, making YouTube TV your one-stop shop for entertainment.
The latest features to try while you sit back with your favorite shows

We’re always listening to our member’s feedback on the channels they want to see on YouTube TV, but we’re also continuously building new features and making improvements that reinvent how you watch TV and interact with your favorite content on YouTube TV. Here are just a few of those features and updates we’ve launched recently:

- Jump to the news that matters most to you: We’ve been testing a new feature that allows you to jump to various segments within select news programs on YouTube TV, and have just brought this to all users. Similar to our key plays view for sports, on some programs you’ll be able to jump to specific news clips within the complete recording. This feature is available on TV screens now and will come to mobile devices in the coming weeks.

- Control over your recorded content: In addition to your unlimited DVR space, YouTube TV members can pause, rewind, and fast forward through all their recorded shows, regardless of network.

- Go easy on the eyes with Dark Mode: We recently introduced a dark theme to both desktop and mobile devices to help tone down your screen’s glare and experience YouTube TV with a dark background.

- Mark a show as watched: You now have an option to select “Mark as Watched” on desktop and mobile devices for any TV show you’ve already seen, a top requested feature from our members.

- A fresh new look for the Live Guide: Based on your feedback, we’ve updated the Live Guide on desktop so you can see what’s on, now, and also scroll ahead 7 days into the future.

An update to your price

As we continue to evaluate how to provide the best possible service and content for you, our membership price will be $64.99. This new price takes effect today, June 30, for new members. Existing subscribers will see these changes reflected in their subsequent billing cycle on or after July 30.

We don’t take these decisions lightly, and realize how hard this is for our members. That said, this new price reflects the rising cost of content and we also believe it reflects the complete value of YouTube TV, from our breadth of content to the features that are changing how we watch live TV. YouTube TV is the only streaming service that includes a DVR with unlimited storage space, plus 6 accounts per household each with its own unique recommendations, and 3 concurrent streams. It's all included in the base cost of YouTube TV, with no contract and no hidden fees.

While we would love every member to continue to stay with our service, we understand that some of you may choose to pause or cancel your membership. We want to make YouTube TV flexible for you, so members can pause or cancel anytime here.

As the streaming industry continues to evolve, we are working to build new flexible models for YouTube TV users, so we can continue to provide a robust and innovative experience for everyone in your household without the commitments of traditional TV.

Thank you for being a part of the YouTube TV family. We’ll continue to work to make it the best place to watch live TV, how you want it.

Christian Oestlien, Vice President of Product Management, YouTube TV


More Nick: Nickelodeon Upfront 2020 Roundup!

Originally published: Thursday, May 07, 2020 at 15:23 BST.

H/T: Nickandmore!, @NickSchedules.
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