YouTube Reportedly in Talks with CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox for OTT

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YouTube is looking to launch an over-the-top (OTT) skinny bundle in early 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported, and it's already signed CBS. The information isn't confirmed, but comes from "people familiar with the matter." This would make CBS the first major network to sign on.

YouTube parent company Google is close to an agreement with 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, and Walt Disney Co. (which owns ABC) the WSJ said.

The service will reportedly be called Unplugged, and offer a small bundle of live broadcast and cable channels for between $25 to $40 per month.

YouTube launched Red, its subscription service, in October 2015. While the two offerings will be kept separate, sources say some YouTube Red content will be available on Unplugged.

One challenge in negotiations, the WSJ says, is that YouTube wants to overlay information on live feeds—such as tweets over a show—and networks want to keep their content as-is. Broadcasters are also reluctant to let their premium content appear on a platform alongside lower-production-value online originals.

The Hollywood Reporter says YouTube plans to sign two or three anchor broadcasters and their cable networks prior to launch.

If YouTube Unplugged launches, it will have to compete against the skinny bundles Sling TV and Sony PlayStation Vue.

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