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Discovery CEO Says T-Mobile TVision Not Allowed to Only Include Channels in $10 Plan

Stephanie Sengwe

It seems like there may be some behind-the-scenes tensions between Discovery and T-Mobile, regarding how the latter packaged Discovery’s channels on their TVision streaming service.

On Oct. 27, the telecom giant announced they would be launching their streaming service with three different tiers. One of those is called TVision Vibe and it features 30 of the most watched entertainment channels—including some from Discovery—for $10.

During their Q3 earnings call today, Discovery CEO David Zaslav alluded to the fact that T-Mobile bundled their channels in a way that’s not in alignment with the distribution deal they have in place. “We were very surprised with how T-Mobile decided they were going to bundle our networks, particularly because we have a clear agreement where our networks are required to be carried on all their basic tiers or OTT offerings,” he stated.

“We’re in active discussions with them to quickly resolve that issue. We don’t believe they have a right to do what they’re doing right now. It’s very clear to them and they’re focused on it.” He later added, “In the end, our stuff is carried on the broad platforms, and it is good for us if, in addition to that, someone wants to take content that we have and offer it in a smaller bundle for less money. That’s good. But not that way.”

T-Mobile also has a $40 tier called TVision Live, aimed at users who want live news and sports. It features a multitude of channels, from ESPN, NBC, ABC, Fox and more, including local affiliates as well as a third tier, called TVision Channels, which has channels Starz, Showtime, Epix in one hub, so users don’t need multiple bills or multiple logins to access their channels.

Late last year, Discovery launched Food Network Kitchen, in collaboration with Amazon. The service was made available through Amazon Alexa and Echo Show, Fire Tablets, Fire TV streaming media devices and Fire TV Edition smart TVs. (It can also be found on Apple iOS and Android mobile devices.)

The Magnolia Network, their new joint venture with Chip and Joanna Gaines (which will have streaming component), is set to launch in 2021, along with a reboot of “Fixer Upper.” The original launch for the network was set for Oct. 4, 2020, but it has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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