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YouTube TV warns subscribers of potential NBCU channel blackout

YouTube TV on Roku
(Image credit: WhatToWatch.com)

YouTube TV’s channel selection may shrink as of Thursday, Sept. 30, as the live TV streaming service and NBCUniversal are currently in the midst of a contract renewal negotiation for YouTube TV to continue carrying 14 NBCU channels.

YouTube TV is emailing its subscribers to let them know of the situation, as has NBCUniversal, according to a report by 9to5Google. According to an NBCU information sheet, should negotiations fail, on Sept. 30 YouTube TV subscribers would lose access to their local NBC station, USA, the Golf Channel, Bravo, MSNBC, Universal Kids, Telemundo, CNBC, NBCSN, E!, Oxygen, NBC Universo, Sy-Fy and NBC-owned regional sport networks.

If this happens, YouTube subscribers would lose the ability to watch shows like Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire and Sunday Night Football live.

In the event that an agreement is not reached before Sept. 30, YouTube TV said that it will be lowering its monthly subscription fees to $54.99 while the NBCU content remains off the platform. It also said that subscribers can pause or cancel their YouTube TV subscription at any time and will provide updates to its subscribers on the status of NBCU channels, should they disappear.

Unsurprisingly, each side is pointing figures at the other. NBC’s info sheet says that YouTube TV is dropping the channels and calls on consumers to take action via sending tweets, chatting with YouTube TV or switching providers. Meanwhile, YouTube TV says that it is looking for equitable terms compared to other distributors of NBCU content. This is the same kind of debates that content providers and TV distributors have been getting in for a longtime, though now it’s just happening more with SVOD services like YouTube TV.

This isn’t the first time that YouTube TV has been entangled in a contract dispute, in April 2021 they had issues with Roku.

One option to continue accessing live sports and other new NBCU programming is by signing up for the NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock. While there is a free version of Peacock, if you want to be able to access live and new content from NBCU channels, you will need to sign up for Peacock Premium, which is available via either an $4.99 ad-supported plan or $9.99 ad-free plan.

What to Watch will keep you updated as this story develops.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.