Viacom recently told the media that their networks, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, and BET will be carried by the yet to be released DirecTV Now streaming service. This is truly a break for Viacom, as investors have started questioning the prospects of their services.
Though neither Viacom nor AT&T has disclosed the financial terms of the agreement, they said that the “premiere networks” of Viacom will run on the platform that AT&T is planning to launch by the end of the year. The list is expected to include channels like VH1, CMT, Spike, TV Land, CMT, Nick Jr., Nick at Nite, and Logo TV. As per Dan York, AT&T’s chief content officer, “The diversity of content makes Viacom Networks’ programming a great fit.”
The new service from AT&T will allow users to access and stream live and on demand programs in devices like tablets, smartphones, computers, or at the home TV. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told that DirecTV Now would be offering more than hundred channels at a very attractive and aggressive pricing. For the wireless customers of AT&T, the data charges will be incorporated to the charges of content.
Stephenson also added that AT&T made use of their power as the biggest domestic television provider to secure low prices from programmers. Even so, the profit margins on the DirecTV Now service will be less than what DirecTV is accustomed to.
This announcement can be reassuring to the investors of Viacom, in a way. Viacom networks has been losing ad money and viewers, which seemed to make them vulnerable, when the popular distributors looked for networks to be included in their so-called skinny bundle packages. Some of the small cable operators like Cable One and Suddenlink Communications even dropped Viacom networks and said that dropping these networks helped their bottom line.
Addition of Viacom network to DirecTV Now services is surely beneficial to Viacom, but we have to wait until the official release of DirecTV Now to see how the deal benefits AT&T in gaining more subscribers.