Discovery takes issue with how its channels are offered in T-Mobile’s TVision service


One of the attractive features of T-Mobile’s new TVision service is its Vibe tier, which offers 34 channels for just $10 per month. However, one company whose channels are included with TVision Vibe is unhappy about how their channels are being offered.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav has said that he was “very surprised” with how T-Mobile has bundled his channels, such as Discovery, Food Network, and HGTV, which are only available in TVision Vibe. Zaslav added that T-Mobile does not “have the right to do what they’re doing right now” and that Discovery has an agreement with T-Mobile where Discovery networks are “required to be carried on all their basic tiers OTT offerings.”

The CEO does go on to say that Discovery is in talks with T-Mobile to get the matter resolved.

“We’re in active discussions with them to quickly resolve that issue,” Zaslav said. “We don’t believe they have the right to do what they’re doing right now. And they know, it’s very clear to them, and they’re focused on it.”

Discovery may not be the only company that has an issue with T-Mobile’s TVision service. According to sources speaking to The Streamable, ViacomCBS has similar concerns about TVision. Interestingly, T-Mobile announced last year that it had struck a “significant content distribution agreement” with Viacom for a T-Mo streaming service.

Additionally, NBC is said to have its own concerns about TVision. Another report from The Streamable says that NBC feels that T-Mobile has breached its carriage agreement which requires T-Mo to distribute NBC and Telemundo stations as well as local NBC affiliates to all TVision customers. NBC and Telemundo are only available in TVision Live and not in Vibe.

Both ViacomCBS and NBC have reportedly told T-Mobile about their issues with TVision.

When asked about these concerns that Discovery, ViacomCBS, and NBC have with TVision, a T-Mobile spokesperson gave TmoNews the following statement:

“TVision is off to a great start! The Un-carrier has always been about listening to customers and solving their pain points, and that’s what we’re doing with TVision. And clearly, the TV business has a lot of pain points to solve! We also want to be a great partner to media companies. We are of course complying with our content agreements, and we are absolutely open to evolving our services to make them even better for consumers. We are just getting started.”

We’ll have to wait and see exactly how T-Mobile responds to this matter, but it seems likely that T-Mo will work with Discovery, ViacomCBS, and NBC to address their concerns. TVision is a major new offering from T-Mobile and so T-Mo likely wants to do whatever it can to help the service to succeed. And Discovery, ViacomCBS, and NBC all have some big name channels that T-Mobile would probably like to keep in TVision.

Sources: Seeking Alpha, The Streamable (1), (2)

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  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Streaming and cable services would be superb if it weren’t for the greedy studios that own the content and have all the say (understandably but still) in how their content is distributed. Unfortunately it’s how the world of media works.

  • Fan_Posting

    At least, it sounds like Tmobile is open to making changes, possibly negotiating and evolving their streaming content overtime.

    • alfonzso

      Yup, they have uncarrier ideas, but enough soon follows back in line.

  • steveb944

    Great for us prepaid T-Mobile subscribers, but I’m sure those signing up next year will eat up our overhead due to having to offer these channels across the board.

  • Glenn Gore

    Yep, it begins. This is exactly what I knew would happen with the programmers. It is exactly what caused the cable industry to become despised by their customers. Customers blame the cable companies for rising fees and bloated packages, when it is the PROGRAMMERS who are entirely to blame. Programmers such as Discovery Networks have a dozen or more channels in their offering, and they demand that they ALL be carried on the lowest-priced tier, and within a certain range of channel numbers so as to not appear exiled to the high-hundreds, which raises the costs to the provider, whether it be a cable system, satellite vendor such as DirecTV or Dish, and yes, now, T-Mobile and their T-Vision product, and those costs must be passed on to the customers.

    Next up will probably be whoever owns the group that contains all of the MTV/CMT/ComCentral/etc networks demanding that every single network they own be carried on the lowest priced tier, etc, then with Disney and ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNu/ESPNClassic/ESPNews/ESPNDeportes, and on & on until the price for this service reaches astronomical levels. This will never change. I dealt with these people for 40 years as a cable operator and they are still using the same tactics that made us finally just shut down our video services completely and switch to being just an internet service provider.

    • JG

      Next up will probably be whoever owns the group that contains all of the MTV/CMT/ComCentral/etc networks demanding that every single network they own be carried on the lowest priced tier

      That would be ViacomCBS, which per the article is already also upset that they’re not included on every account.

      • Glenn Gore

        Exactly. Every programmer will be making these requirements before long, and the price will keep rising until it equals the other services. The programmers have never allowed “pick & choose” among their channels, nor do they like some of their “lesser-viewed (worthless imho)” channels being placed on higher-priced tiers, and they never will. That’s what killed cable and it will eventually kill these new services as well. Your cable bill did not soar because of the greediness of the cable system owner, it tripled because they were required by ViacomCBS to carry a dozen different channels, with only a couple of them being something that the cable system wanted to carry in the first place.

    • alfonzso

      Great insight! Thank you Glenn! They don’t understand that the days of channel surfing is over. I dropped cable bundles several years ago and won’t sign up for any bundle again regardless of who the provider is.

  • Shaun Michalak

    I can give T-Mobile this.. So far, they are willing to stand up to these providers in some way.. But the question is, how will it end.. These companies do not care what the customer wants.. All they care about is that they are forced on people no matter what they care about.. This is exactly why I left the cable options a long time ago.. I have no problem paying for what I get, but I do not want to be forced to pay for 50 channels that I will never watch, just because the channel owner deems them to be so important that they think that people can not live without them.. and that is exactly what is pushing people from the cable industry for service.

  • Bryck

    I signed up for T-Vision live $40.00 + the $10.00 Vibe addition. Signed up today. So far it’s great, and saving $29+ from my previous provider. Besides the interface needing some work, they should offer some kind of Free Trial. Reminds me a lot of Hulu live.