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Status Update

by M.G. Siegler

 

No-Sports TV? Viacom, AMC, Discovery Said Eyeing Web Bundle

www.bloomberg.com

Gerry Smith and Lucas Shaw on various players in streaming television looking at offering packages without sports:

Sports-free TV would cost less than $20 a month, according to one person. That’s about half the expected price of Hulu’s upcoming live TV service and YouTube’s new TV package, which came out last week. Both YouTube and Hulu are offering or looking to offer about 40 channels, including ESPN and broadcasters like NBC, Fox and CBS that rely heavily on sports. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the service was designed “to be great for sports lovers.”
Discovery, AMC and Viacom, which airs the popular VH1 series “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta,” don’t carry sports in the U.S. They have popular programming, like AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and Discovery’s “Shark Week.” At one point, several cable network owners discussed creating their own online service, like Hulu, one of the people said.

The anti-sports element is interesting. As everyone knows, sports have long been considered the glue holding together the television status quo -- it's the content that is still impossible to get elsewhere, in many cases. And it's one of the last parts to maintain the value of "live". But the flip side is also true: it's by far the most expensive part of cable packages and the most expensive content for networks to buy. 

As for other networks banding together, I still bet this eventually happens. "Lesser" networks will start bundling themselves together. Bundles all the way down...

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