The streaming wars make me want to rip my hair out. On February 29th, two days from today, YouTube TV subscribers will lose access to FOX Regional Sports Networks and the YES Network.
This sudden change is due to a distribution disagreement between Google and Sinclair Broadcast Group. Evidently, Sinclair wants more money from Google, and the company isn’t willing to pay extra for the FOX Regional Sports Networks license.
But Google seems to be fighting back. In a post on Twitter, the company threw Sinclair under the bus and cited this SNAFU as a “reflection of the rising cost of sports content.” This is common practice nowadays, as streaming services try to use public outrage as leverage for their distribution deals.
Get used to this kind of crap. As streaming services become more fractured, TV networks are likely to push for more and more outrageous distribution deals. If you want a clear-cut example of how things are going, just look at Friends. Netflix acquired distribution rights for the property in 2015 for $100 million. Just four years later, HBO poached the show for a stupid $500 million.
We can only assume that “streaming TV” services like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and Sling are fighting similar battles for their TV channels.