Industry sources confirmed that CBS has signed a carriage deal for a virtual MVPD service that Google is developing for its YouTube platform, confirming a report from The Wall Street Journal.
A source also confirmed that Fox and ABC are in distribution talks with YouTube, which plans to launch its offering in Q1 2017.
The WSJ first reported on the CBS-YouTube deal and the discussions between YouTube and ABC and Fox. CBS, which launched a subscription OTT service called CBS All Access in October 2014, declined to comment on the report.
Updated: "We don't comment on rumor or speculation," a YouTube spokesperson said.
Bloomberg reported in May that Google’s YouTube division was developing a virtual MVPD service called “Unplugged” that was aiming for a 2017 launch. A source said YouTube is interested in launching a skinny bundle pay TV service that has at least three major broadcast networks on board.
According to the WSJ, Google wants to offer a slimmed down bundle of live TV channels in the range of $25 to $40 per month, and that the service would be sold and marketed separately from the recently launched subscription-based YouTube Red service, though some content from YouTube Red might be integrated with the virtual MVPD service.
If YouTube pulls the trigger on a virtual MVPD service, it would join a competitive field of OTT-TV services that includes Dish Network’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue, as well as planned virtual MVPD services from AT&T (DirecTV Now) and Hulu.