Peacock Could Be the Reason for the YouTube TV and NBCU Dispute

Google and NBCUniversal’s carriage deal for NBC channels on YouTube TV expires this Thursday. If the two aren’t able to come to an agreement, the channels will be dropped from the streaming service and Google says it will reduce the price of YouTube TV by $10/month.

NBCUniversal sent a statement saying the dispute was the result of Google “refusing to make a deal at these fair rates.” Google responded, saying “If NBCU offers us equitable terms, we’ll renew our agreement with them.”

Now, Lightshed reports that Peacock could be the reason for the dispute.

“NBCU is trying to force YouTube TV to bundle and pay for Peacock Premium as part of a new affiliation agreement for the NBCU channels,” Lightshed’s Rich Greenfield reports. “With NBCU struggling with marketing Peacock direct-to-consumer (evidenced by their talking about ‘registrations’ vs. ‘paying subscribers’), they are falling back on their legacy business model of wholesale bundling to drive distribution.”

While Google doesn’t regularly report subscriber numbers for YouTube TV, Greenfield believes that the current number could be around 4 million subscribers, putting YouTube TV above Hulu with Live TV. It’s likely that NBCU isn’t just looking for more money from the carriage deal, but also improved subscriber numbers for its own streaming service.

The questions now are will Google feel enough pressure from subscribers to make the deal and keep the channels or will NBCU give up on expanding the distribution of Peacock to keep its deal with YouTube TV in place.