Viacom CFO Wade Davis is well aware that Viacom channels like Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon don’t show up on Hulu with Live TV or YouTube TV, but he thinks they will eventually.
Speaking today at the Gabelli Annual Movie and Entertainment Conference, Davis pointed out that Viacom is present in the virtual MVPD world and got in a slight dig at the vMVPDs that don’t carry Viacom.
“We’re extremely well-represented in the traditional distributor lead virtual MVPDs, that’s Sling TV and DirecTV Now. And those are really the virtual MVPDs that matter,” Davis said. “We’d love to be on [Hulu and YouTube TV], we’re in discussions with those guys all the time and we’re optimistic that we’re going to … make progress with some of the virtual MVPDs that we’re not on.”
But he said that the real growth from a vMVPD standpoint is going to continue to be driven from the traditional distributors. The two most significant parts of the vMVPD business are content cost and subscriber acquisition, and those are areas where the traditional distributors have incredible advantages versus new entrants in the space, he said, while anticipating further growth from other traditional distributors entering the vMVPD market.
In terms of traditional distributors launching vMVPDs, Dish Network and DirecTV are really the only ones so far; though it’s worth noting that Comcast is a part-owner of Hulu. Verizon has said that it is no longer interested in launching a streaming TV service, and the U.S. cable operators that offer streaming TV services typically do so only within their footprints.
As of April 2018, DirecTV Now had about 1.5 million subscribers, and in February 2018 Dish revealed that Sling TV has 2.2 million subscribers. YouTube TV has yet to divulge any subscriber numbers, but Hulu said late last month it now has 800,000 subscribers (out of 20 million total) opting for its live TV service.