NBCUniversal signs deal with TV affiliates for streaming, TV Everywhere distribution

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NBC says talks with the NBC Affiliate Board regarding OTT and TVE distribution rights have progressed. Image: Tflynn17/Wikimedia Commons

NBC and the NBC Television Affiliates Board have a new deal that will allow local TV broadcasters to opt in to NBCUniversal’s carriage agreements with new OTT streaming services and for TVE distribution rights.

“We are happy to once again reinforce NBC’s commitment to and recognition of the value of the affiliate partnership and that of local broadcasters. This agreement in the digital space reaffirms that commitment,” said Jean Dietze, president of NBC Affiliate Relations, in a statement.

NBC says that discussions with the NBC Affiliate Board regarding OTT and TVE distribution rights have progressed over the last several months.

"We are excited to take the important step of planting local affiliates' linear feeds in a position to join the OTT space, along with our network partners,” said Ralph Oakley, chairman of the NBC Affiliates Board, in a statement. “We believe that OTT distribution can play an important role in ensuring the growth and development of local, network-affiliated television stations. We appreciate NBC's forward-looking approach to growing our historic partnership."

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As more and more virtual MVPDs pop up, local broadcast TV rights have become a big hurdle. While CBS has managed to sign up local broadcasters in nearly all markets for its CBS All Access live streaming service, other services have struggled to negotiate terms with individual broadcasters and broadcast groups.

Upcoming live TV streaming services like Hulu are making local broadcast content one of the priorities. Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins promised his company’s service would include a lot of local broadcast content.

“Local TV is extremely important and we’ll have a lot of affiliates at launch, but not all of them,” Hopkins said.