Google signs CBS, in talks with others on web TV: sources

October 19, 2016 3:10 PM EDT

A man holds his smartphone which displays the Google home page, in this picture illustration taken in Bordeaux, Southwestern France, August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

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By Jessica Toonkel

(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google has reached an agreement with CBS Corp (NYSE: CBS) to carry the network on its planned web TV service and is in advanced talks with 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA), Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) and Viacom Inc (NASDAQ: VIAB) to distribute their channels, people with knowledge of the talks told Reuters on Wednesday.

The service, which will be part of Google's YouTube platform, is expected to launch in the first quarter and will include all of CBS's content, including live NFL games, one of the sources said.

Google's offering, known as a "skinny bundle" because it will have fewer channels than a typical cable subscription, will cost $30 to $40 a month, the source said. It was unclear which Fox and Viacom networks would be part of the Google service, two of the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity because the discussions are confidential. A spokesperson for YouTube declined to comment.

A representative at Disney was not immediately available for comment. CBS, Viacom and Fox declined to comment.

Google will be launching into an increasingly crowded market. Dish Network Corp (NASDAQ: DISH) and Sony Corp <6758.T in the past year have launched skinny bundles delivered over the internet to appeal to younger viewers who do not want to pay for cable.

Both AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) and Hulu, the online video service owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast Corp (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Inc (NYSE: TWX), have streaming television offerings that are expected to go live in the next few months.

Traditional cable operators also have unveiled smaller packages to fight "cord cutting" by consumers who are dropping their more expensive packages with hundreds of channels.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news. (http://on.wsj.com/2eShhLp)

Google has been talking to media companies about its web TV for years, but its plans have just ramped up over the past few months, one of the sources said. Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) had looked at a similar service but has shelved that plan for the time being, sources previously told Reuters.

Shares of CBS, Viacom and Fox rose to session highs on the news before they pared gains. Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox ended up 0.6 percent at $25.12, Viacom rose 0.6 percent to $36.37, and CBS closed up 0.8 percent at $55.53.

(Reporting by Jessica Toonkel in New York and Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang and Leslie Adler)



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