By Joe Flint
CBS Corp. has landed the rights to stream National Football League games on its stand-alone digital platform CBS All Access, the broadcaster said Thursday.
The new multiyear deal kicks off this Sunday and includes not only regular season games but postseason playoffs on CBS as well. Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed but CBS is paying for the streaming rights as well as providing other incentives to the NFL, people familiar with the matter said.
The pact is separate from CBS's current broadcast rights deal with the NFL, which runs about $1 billion annually and expires after the 2022 season. In addition, CBS is paying $225 million for Thursday night football this season and next.
CBS has long sought rights to stream the NFL on All Access, which has about one million subscribers and costs $5.99 a month or $9.99 without commercials. Not having the NFL was seen as limiting subscriber interest in the service.
"Adding the most watched programming on television, to the most watched network on television, will be a powerful combination as we continue to grow CBS All Access into the future," CBS Chairman and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said in a statement.
Like other networks with NFL rights, CBS already had rights to offer NFL games online to consumers who have pay-TV subscriptions. However, this is the first time the NFL has given a TV rights holder streaming rights for a stand-alone service outside of the traditional pay-TV realm.
Beyond the CBS service, the NFL is already becoming available on a variety of digital platforms such as DishNetwork's Corp.'s Sling TV and AT&T Inc.'s just-launched DirecTV Now, though there are restrictions on which networks are available and whether users can watch games on phones.
Hulu, which is backed by NFL rights holders 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Co., and Comcast Corp., is launching a new live TV service that also could be a home for NFL content. 21st Century Fox and News Corp, parent company of The Wall Street Journal, share common ownership.
The All Access agreement won't extend to mobile phones outside of the home. Verizon Communications Inc. has exclusive mobile streaming rights to NFL games.
The NFL has been experimenting with new platforms for games. Last year, it streamed a game on Yahooand this season it is streaming several games on Twitter.
"This deal is a great addition to our ongoing strategy of expanding availability of NFL games to fans on as many platforms as possible," said Hans Schroeder, senior vicepresident of media revenue, strategy and development for the NFL.
CBS is betting heavily on All Access. Besides the NFL deal, it is also creating original content for the service, including a new "Star Trek" series set to debut later next year and a spinoff to its critically acclaimed drama "The Good Wife."
Write to Joe Flint at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 02, 2016 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)
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