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Comcast & ViacomCBS Ink New Carriage Pact for CBS Stations

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Comcast Corporation (CMCSA - Free Report) recently struck a carriage agreement with ViacomCBS (VIAC - Free Report) . The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The renewal agreement comes with retransmission consent for 23 CBS-owned TV stations in 15 major U.S. markets, including The CW affiliates, as well as distribution of Showtime, Smithsonian Channel, Pop TV and CBS Sports Network to Xfinity customers.

Additionally, CBS All Access video on-demand and live streaming service will be made available on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms later in 2020.

Moreover, Xfinity customers will have TV everywhere access to programming from CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network. They will be able to access live authenticated streaming on, the CBS app and Comcast’s Xfinity Stream.

Further, Showtime Anytime will continue to provide Xfinity Showtime subscribers with unlimited online and mobile access to the channel's content.

Comcast to Gain From Service Integration

For Comcast, the CBS All Access component expands its strategy to tightly integrate traditional TV and OTT content on operator-supplied set-top boxes for Comcast's full X1 service or for its newer, OTT-focused Flex offering.

Additionally, the integration brings another popular, premium-level OTT service to Flex, which is expected to encourage broadband-only customers to upgrade to Comcast's full pay-TV service.

Notably, this deal will mark the first time that the CBS All Access app is made available on a multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD) based set-top box.

For ViacomCBS, the integration on both X1 and Flex boxes should provide a new growth channel for the CBS All Access streaming service and build on its direct-to-consumer sales model.

Comcast’s Flex: A Threat to Roku

Comcast has become the first pay-TV provider to strike a deal to integrate and distribute CBS All Access, the programmer's subscription streaming service that features a mix of on-demand, live content and original shows that are exclusive to the OTT service.

Additionally, Comcast is willing to give Internet-only users their first streaming box for free. Subscribers who want an additional box would pay $5 per month.

In terms of hardware, the top-rated Roku (ROKU - Free Report) device is Premier+ priced at $44. It offers features such as 4K streaming, voice control and TV power and volume control. A quick comparison shows that the short version of Flex offers the same features as Roku but at no cost.

While Roku is offering most of the streaming services plus its own Roku Channel, Flex is also following suite. Some of the most popular services available on Flex include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO.

Comcast-owned NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service will be available on Flex. Hulu is expected to come on board soon.

Although customers may miss services like Disney’s (DIS - Free Report) Disney+ or Spotify in the short term, Comcast is open to bringing third-party, virtual MVPDs to Flex and broadening the amount of live TV streaming it offers on that platform.

Zacks Rank

Comcast currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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