AMC, A+E, Discovery, Scripps Networks and Viacom will “soft launch” a streaming service focusing on nonsports channels sometime in the next few weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The service is expected to cost less than $20 and could include the core networks of the programmers involved. AMC’s networks include its flagship as well as IFC and BBC America; A+E’s include A&E, History and Lifetime; Discovery’s include Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet; Scripps, which Discovery is acquiring for $14.6 billion, owns networks including HGTV and Food Network; and Viacom’s core networks include BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and the soon-to-launch Paramount Network.
According to the report, the service will be run on Philo, a streaming TV platform geared toward college students. The service could also be branded “Philo.” As the report points out, the service will first be offered as a direct-to-consumer product but the end goal is to have it also become a channel package offered by traditional pay-TV providers like Comcast, DirecTV and Spectrum.
Today’s report provides some additional color for a product that Viacom CEO Bob Bakish has insisted is in the works and scheduled for release in the coming year. In May, Bakish told investors that Viacom was in talks with at least one pay-TV provider about offering a nonsports channel bundle priced around $10 to $20.
“We fundamentally believe a lower-price offering would be very compelling,” said Bakish, adding that it would likely not involve all of Viacom’s channels.
As Bakish has noted before, and as today's report indicates, the bundle would likely require users to have an antenna in order to provide them with over-the-air signals for major broadcasters including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.