Hulu announced last week that it added 23 more ABC affiliates and nine additional NBC stations. According to the website Cord Cutters News, which has been closely keeping tabs on local deals announced by virtual MVPDs, Hulu Live has more than 440 local CBS, ABC, Fox, My Network TV, and Telemundo stations signed up for broadcast retransmission licensing deals.
“As we have seen in our 60+ years of local consumer research, the most valued content is the programming created by local television stations,” says Bill Hague, executive vice president at Magid. “Therefore, it makes complete sense that the vMVPDs are battling it out and promoting the stations they will be retransmitting.”
With 10 small- and mid-market ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates signed up this week as well, DirecTV Now is a distant second in the vMPVD locals race, neck and neck with Sony PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV, Cord Cutter News says.
For its part, sports-focused vMVPD fuboTV announced the addition of four NBC affiliates last week, bringing its total local station count to 105.
“Pricing and access to content are the two main areas where these virtual MVPDs can differentiate themselves from each other and the larger MVPDs,” Hague says. With most vMPVDs pricing their base skinny bundles in the $35 to $40 a month range, access to local stations has become the most important product differentiator.
Hague says it will also certainly have a positive impact on local television stations’ bottom lines as more companies pay them retransmission fees.