Turner CEO says YouTube TV said 'no' to CNN, TBS, TNT

John Martin CEO Turner (Turner)
Turner CEO John Martin

Turner CEO John Martin said that YouTube TV politely declined Turner’s offer to let the virtual MVPD carry its channels including CNN, TBS and TNT.

“We said, 'We would like you to carry us,' and they said, 'No,”" Martin told investors at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications, according to Forbes.

But Martin clarified that it wasn’t personal, simply a financial issue. He said that YouTube TV had likely used up most of its content budget carrying live sports, but added that the service may carry Turner in the future.


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With the emerging crop of new vMVPDs, all looking to maintain the current competitive price point of around $35-$40, it’s becoming more common to see services pass on some big name programmers.

YouTube TV just added AMC Networks’ stable of channels—including AMC, IFC and BBC America—but the service beyond that is limited to the big four broadcast networks and their respective cable nets, meaning core cable programmers like A+E, Discovery and Viacom are left out.

RELATED: Hulu signs on A+E Networks for live TV service, but Viacom may be out

Likewise, Hulu’s new live TV service has been selective in its process of adding new channels. The service has distribution deals with ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and Turner—and it recently added A+E—but it passed on Viacom’s channels and has yet to hammer out deals with other major programmers.

For Turner though, it has its core channels on the base tiers of both Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, and, via its parent company Time Warner’s potential merger with AT&T, likely has a very secure spot on DirecTV Now.

RELATED: Turner chief Martin: Launch of direct-to-consumer CNN and TNT ‘imperative,’ but it won’t happen soon

While it looks to lock down carriage across the litany of new vMVPDs, Turner could also be exploring a direct-to-consumer strategy of its own for its networks. Martin has said that it will likely be necessary for Turner to go that route at some point.

"I believe it’s imperative that we put the company on a course, to be in a position, to offer an end-to-end solution, direct to consumer,” Martin said to Recode, though he specified that Turner won’t be announcing any D2C products in the near future.

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