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SCOOP: This is How PlayStation Vue & WarnerMedia Think About Upcoming Content Deals

Jason Gurwin

Earlier this morning, we reported that PlayStation Vue has multiple affiliate deals expiring this month including with Turner which is owned by WarnerMedia. At a panel at the The TV Of Tomorrow Show (TVOT) in San Francisco, Dwayne Benefield, GM of PlayStation Vue and Alex Gonzalez, SVP of Brand Distribution, WarnerMedia discussed the future of rights deals which give a hint as to how they are thinking about the negotiation.

“Historically, a lot of our relationships with distribution partners were a zero sum game,” said WarnerMedia’s Gonzalez. “A zero sum game worked in a world when live linear TV was growing. Now we’re in a world where we’re trying together, to preserve the business. And at the same time recognize that we can create a win win relationships to go after those consumers that are not necessarily consuming live TV.”

PlayStation Vue’s Benefield thinks that the days of annual increases in content is over. “Consumers are saying enough is enough,” exclaimed Benefield. “If you look at the programmers, there’s an assumption…that they’re going to continue to drive increases in affiliate programming fees to help support their cash flows, which gets passed down to distributors, which are then passed down to consumers.”

It’s clear that unless distributors end up standing up to content owners, consumers will continue to see the price increases that Live TV Streaming Services have seen across the industry. With services adding channels from Turner, Viacom, and Discovery — most services including fuboTV ($55), Hulu Live TV ($45), and YouTube TV ($50) raised prices as much as 25% in the last year. DIRECTV NOW has gone the other direction, raising prices and thinning the bundle — removing channels from A&E, AMC, and Discovery. Only PlayStation Vue ($45) and Sling TV ($25) have yet to raise prices in 2019.

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