The decline of traditional linear TV is most often traced back to OTT giants like Amazon, Netflix and YouTube. But streaming services and cable companies can still be seen buddying up.
Case in point: Digital cable news channel Cheddar today signed a distribution deal with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), allowing the group’s more than 750 cable and broadband companies, which collectively serve over 8 million subscribers, to offer Cheddar as a linear channel. NCTC subscribers will also have access to Cheddar’s VOD library and Cheddar’s live feed via its website and applications in the coming months.
“Cheddar is directly addressing several key needs our members have including a unique approach to news, flexible carriage, mobile device app enabled, the ability to offer via IP set top app and/or traditional linear channel with accompanying VOD access. We were able to work quickly with Cheddar and believe they will be a nimble partner for our members in the evolving world of new video business models,” said Rich Fickle, NCTC president and CEO, in a statement.
Cheddar offered a similarly glowing appraisal of jumping aboard traditional cable systems.
“This master agreement allows any NCTC cable system to turn Cheddar on for their subscribers,” said Daniel Schneider, vice president of business development at Cheddar, in a statement. “We are thrilled to offer Cheddar to the entire NCTC footprint, enabling over 8 million TV and broadband subscribers to catch the latest news, headlines, and interviews with top business executives.”
Cheddar also signed a new agreement with cable provider WOW! to allow the company’s 400,000 video subscribers access to a Cheddar within its linear channel lineup.
Philo, a streaming skinny bundle of cable channels priced at $16 per month, today also announced a deal with NCTC that will allow the cable cooperative’s members to sell Philo’s service directly to their subscribers.
“Our partnership with NCTC will expand the available options for millions of TV lovers by giving them access to the unique entertainment-focused package we’ve created,” said Philo CEO Andrew McCollum in a statement. “Philo is a perfect complement to the existing services, particularly high-speed internet, that these companies already offer.”
While both deals are examples (to varying degrees) of streaming services and cable companies teaming up, they’re hardly the only instances of streaming-cable crossover.
Last year, digital news network Newsy bought about 26 million cable subscribers from the Retirement Living Television (RLTV) cable network, which as of April 2018, gave the network reach into more than 10 million U.S. cable households, primarily on Comcast and Cox.
At the same time, streaming services like Netflix and Dish Network’s Sling TV have been integrated into Comcast’s X1 pay TV platform and traditional cable networks like HBO and Showtime have been steadily growing their OTT, direct-to-consumer subscriber bases.
Last year, NCTC signed a deal with MobiTV to allow NCTC members to negotiate tech deals for MobiTV Connect, an app-based TV platform.