Viacom VIAB 0.0%CBS VIAC -0.1% announced today a new distribution agreement that adds ViacomCBS content to Hulu’s live TV subscription streaming service, Hulu + Live TV. This distribution arrangement will cover a wide variety of content such as news, entertainment and sports. In all it represents content that will be seen over 14 new channels on the paid Hulu live TV service. This deal is just another example of media companies placing their content on as many possible platforms, and with as many possible business models, as they believe makes sense for their overall business.
The deal was described by ViacomCBS as a “multi-year deal” which includes continued carriage of CBS broadcast stations, CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel, and The CW, as well as continued distribution of ViacomCBS’ premium subscription service, SHOWTIME®. The deal will also introduce fourteen additional ViacomCBS networks to Hulu + Live TV, including BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, VH1, CMT, Nick Jr., TV Land, BET Her, MTV2, NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic.
“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.”
The CBS All Access service is generally seen as a successful paid VOD service for CBS. Plans have been announced to expand that service, and presumably substantial Viacom content will go on the new, expanded, ViacomCBS SVOD All Access service, which presumably was worked out with Hulu as part of the deal, though no such arrangements were announced at this time.
The merger of Viacom and CBS last year has brought together two companies which have had different approaches to digital distribution of their content. As TechCrunch points out: “Offering the ViacomCBS cable lineup to live TV streamers represents a different strategy than Viacom had in the past, before the 2019 merger with CBS. In previous years, it allowed a deal with YouTube to fall through, as well as those with other streamers, like the now shuttered PlayStation Vue. In the meantime, the company focused on more traditional carriage agreements with pay TV operators.”
As distributors take on new content, and new costs for their content, it is expected that pricing for various digital packages and alternatives to traditional TV will be changing. For instance, YouTube TV raised pricing by 30% in the middle of last year as it added more content from ViacomCBS channels.
ViacomCBS did not reveal the financial terms of this deal with Hulu. In November Hulu announced that the price for their Live TV service was going up to $65 per month.