AT&T to Launch DirecTV Now Without CBS

by Paige Albiniak  |  11.26.2016

When AT&T launches its new over-the-top streaming service DirecTV Now this week, it will do so without one major player: CBS.

CBS’ hesitance to join the new service fits right into its corporate playbook. CBS never joined its broadcast network compatriots – ABC, NBC and Fox – as part of Hulu; instead, it went its own way and launched CBS All Access. It’s also not part of Dish Network’s Sling TV. It is carried on Google’s YouTube, which Bloomberg reports is paying more for CBS than cable operators typically do, and is carried on Sony’s Playstation Vue in some markets.

When DirecTV Now debuts, it will offer over more than 100 live channels – including those from A&E, AMC, Disney-ABC, Discovery, Fox, NBCUniversal, Scripps, Starz, Turner and Viacom – for $35 per month. While the service will offer cable channels owned by these companies, such as NBCUniversal’s USA, whether it will offer ABC and NBC is unclear, reports Bloomberg. 

RELATED: Discovery Extends Distribution Deal with AT&T

AT&T and Fox announced their deal two weeks ago, and that deal includes the Fox Broadcast Network, the companies said.

Besides the CBS Broadcast Network, the company also owns Showtime, CBS Sports, Pop and The Smithsonian Channel, and co-owns The CW with Time Warner.

By not offering CBS in the package, subscribers to DirecTV Now will not receive such popular programming as The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, 60 Minutes and some NFL games.

What’s likely keeping CBS off DirecTV is price, with CBS asking more than AT&T likely wants to pay. CBS All Access is available to subscribers with commercials for $5.99 per month and without commercials for $9.99 per month. It’s the only broadcast network to offer its own standalone subscription video on demand (SVOD) service.

“The fact is all successful bundles, regardless of size or platform, have to have CBS,” said CBS Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves on the company’s most recent earnings call. 

READ MORE: Bloomberg

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