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Google in Talks with Others on Web TV, Signs Agreement with CBS: Reuters

Google in Talks with Others on Web TV, Signs Agreement with CBS: Reuters
Reuters reported on Wednesday that Alphabet Inc's Google is in advanced talks with 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Co and Viacom Inc to distribute their channels through its web service.
People with knowledge of the talks also told Reuters on Wednesday that Google has reached an agreement with CBS Corp to carry the network on its planned web TV service.
One of the sources that Reuters spoke to claimed that including all of CBS's content, and including live NFL games, the service is expected to launch in the first quarter. This new service will be part of Google's YouTube platform.
Reuters reported citing two sources that Google's new offering will cost $30 to $40 a month for the subscriber. This new offering from the Alphabet stable will be known as a "skinny bundle" because it will have fewer channels than a typical cable subscription.
Reuters could not name the sources it gathered information from as the sources requested anonymity because the discussions are confidential. A spokesperson for YouTube declined to comment to queries from Reuters.
A representative at Disney was not immediately available for comment. CBS, Viacom and Fox declined to comment to Reuters’ inquiry on the issue.
The market for web TV services globally is becoming froth with competition and analysts say that Google will be launching in a market that is expected to get increasingly crowded in the future also. For example, in order to appeal to younger viewers who do not want to pay for cable, services of skinny bundles delivered over the internet was launched in the past year by Dish Network Corp and Sony Corp.
And as for the future of this segment, streaming television offerings that are expected to go live in the next few months are being readied by both AT&T Inc and Hulu, the online video service owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc.
The more expensive packages with hundreds of channels are being dropped by customers of traditional cable television business.  And hence to fight "cord cutting" by consumers, smaller packages have been unveiled over the last few years by traditional cable operators.
This new offer and agreement of Google was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
On the other hand, one of the sources that Reuters talked to said that Google’s plans have been just ramped up over the past few months even as the company has been talking to media companies about its web TV for years now. Reuters had previously reported citing sources that Apple Inc had looked at a similar service but has shelved that plan for the time being.
Before the shares of CBS, Viacom and Fox pared gains, the news of the new development resulted in those shares to rise to session highs. Shares of CBS closed up 0.8 percent at $55.53, Viacom rose 0.6 percent to $36.37 and Twenty-First Century Fox ended up 0.6 percent at $25.12.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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