WGN-TV to join YouTube TV lineup

Nexstar strikes deal to bring local channels to vMVPD

In a move that fills a gap, Nexstar struck a deal with the Google-owned YouTube TV, bringing powerhouse independent WGN-TV to Chicago subscribers.

It’s part of a larger deal made by the Texas-based broadcaster, the biggest in the nation. The agreement either brings or expands existing station contracts with 59 outlets coming on board, including 29 CW affiliates such as KTLA Los Angeles, KDAF Dallas-Ft. Worth, and KIAH Houston (Nexstar now owns three-quarters of The CW), and 26 MyNetwork TV stations such as KRON San Francisco, and four independents, including the aforementioned WGN. 

The deal also includes contract extension for the group’s CBS affiliates, such as KELO Sioux Falls, S.D., and WCIA in downstate Champaign and a extension for Nexstar’s upstart NewsNation, which was already on YouTubeTV. 

YouTube TV is a Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor, or vMVPD . It’s similar to a regular MVPD (like traditional cable and satellite), but distributed via the cloud and uses the internet to deliver channels to your home – thus the “virtual” part. In addition to YouTube TV, other vMVPDs include Hulu + Live TV, Fubo, Philo, and Frindly. 

WGN was one of only two local over-the-air stations not on YouTube TV, with the other being religious independent WJYS. 

“These agreements with YouTube TV underscore the importance of Nexstar’s national and local content on its platform,” said Tom Carter, Nexstar’s chief operating officer. “Not only will Nexstar’s 40 CBS-affiliated stations continue being carried on YouTube TV, but for the first time Nexstar’s 59 CW, MyNetworkTV, and independent stations will be carried on the platform, bringing Nexstar’s CBS, The CW Network, and MyNetworkTV content, as well as local news, weather, sports, and other proprietary and syndicated content to YouTube TV subscribers in local markets across the country

Carter added:  “We are also excited to be extending NewsNation’s partnership with YouTube TV at a time when the network is about to expand its weekday news programming to 24-hours a day with the launch of Elizabeth Vargas Reports and The Hill.”
NewsNation recently announced it was adding Vargas and a new weekday roundtable show based on the political news website Nexstar purchased last year. Once known as WGN America, NewsNation will finally be a round-the-clock news channel this spring, albeit five days a week as weekends continue to feature non-news programming, for now. 
The drama-free deal is in vast contrast from what Fubo had been dealing with in recent weeks, with station groups pulling their CBS affiliates from the service as part of a wider dispute with CBS owner Paramount Global, who negotiates carriage terms on vMVPDs on their behalf – one many have come to loathe. On Friday, the CBS affiliate board approved a new deal for Fubo and all vMVPDs, essentially returning them to the service. For the last few weeks, Fubo had replaced the CBS affiliate feeds with a main network one, assuring viewers receive their shows (cities where CBS owns its affiliate were not affected, such as Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.)
Hulu + Live TV is also in a dispute with Sinclair’s ABC affiliates as the network is off the platform in Washington D.C., Seattle, St. Louis, Portland (Ore.), Little Rock, and Springfield, Ill. among others, though ABC did provide a feed Sunday night so subscribers wouldn’t miss the Oscars. 
[Editor’s Note: Updated to clarify the two local stations previously not on YouTube are over-the-air stations.]

16 thoughts on “WGN-TV to join YouTube TV lineup

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *