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NBC Universal Inks Deal With DirecTV 'Skinny' Bundles

13 Sep, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Long-term pact includes extension of traditional pay-TV agreements

NBC Universal Sept. 13 announced a long-time distribution deal with AT&T, which includes the telecom’s new streaming services DirecTV Now and DirecTV Preview — slated to launch in the fourth quarter.

The agreement also enables DirecTV to select major sporting events in 4K Ultra HD resolution. DirecTV recently offered the Rio Olympics and is delivering Notre Dame football games in 4K UHD under the agreement.

“We’re pleased to extend our relationship with NBCU with this milestone agreement, which delivers their content across all of our platforms and products,” Dan York, chief content officer for AT&T, said in a statement. “The NBCU family of networks will be available to AT&T customers for years to come and will also enhance our Direct Now streaming services and provide more great 4K Ultra High Definition sports content.”

The agreement mirrors agreements ironed out by Dish Network and Charter with content holders such as Disney, Fox and CBS, which parlay traditional carriage deals with additional access to major broadcast channels on new online networks such as Sling TV and Charter Spectrum TV Plus.

Indeed, Sling TV last year became the first online TV service to offer standalone access (without a pay-TV subscription) to ESPN.

NBC’s agreement underscores corporate parent Comcast’s increasing acceptance of non-traditional cable distribution over video-on-demand and TV Everywhere. The company is attempting to circumvent growing SVOD and over-the-top video distribution through its broadband-based X1 set-top box.

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