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The five biggest cord cutting stories of February, 2017

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February was a great month for cord cutters; new services hit the market and we learned more about other services that are already on the market. Here are our top five biggest cord cutting stories of February, 2017.

YouTube TV

Recently, YouTube announced a new service, which delivers live TV from popular television channels to paying customers through YouTube. The service will be called YouTube TV but will not launch for a few months. Also, we do not know at this time which markets will get live local channels.

For $35 a month, starting sometime this spring, subscribers to YouTube TV will be able to watch the top four broadcast networks — ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS — as well as 35 or so of their affiliated cable channels including ESPN, Disney Channel, MSNBC, National Geographic, and Fox News. Premium channels like Showtime can be added for an additional fee.

Subscribers will receive a DVR to record shows and unlimited storage space in the cloud. The only catch is that shows are automatically deleted after nine months.

YouTube TV subscribers will be able to watch YouTube TV on smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. The mobile apps are designed to easily “cast” from smartphones to larger screens, perhaps even (for we olds) actual TV sets. Sadly, the press release did not list whether it could be used with streaming players like Roku, Fire TV. Yet, since both do allow you to cast YouTube Videos, it is possible that YouTube TV will work on streaming players like the Roku and Fire TV.

Viacom Shows Leave Hulu

If you are a Hulu subscriber you may have noticed the catalog of shows suddenly got smaller this month. Viacom, the company behind popular channels like Spike TV, Comedy Central, and MTV, ended their contract with Hulu.

However, Hulu will keep rights to some Viacom shows:

  • Hit Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Drunk History and Workaholics
  • Complete libraries of popular series including Jersey Shore, Key & Peele and Catfish
  • Kids programming from Nickelodeon including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Thundermans, Rugrats, Rabbids Invasion, Drake & Josh and Hey Arnold!
  • Hulu will also continue to be the exclusive streaming home to ALL current and library episodes of South Park, one of the biggest animated series of all time.

It seems this is part of a bigger effort by Viacom to move away from services like Hulu.

“We will also reinforce the pay TV ecosystem by being highly selective in striking agreements with over the top distributors, confining those deals to largely library content. We do want to support the success of virtual MVPDs, as we have with partners like Sling and DIRECTV NOW, and embrace their roles as catalyst for innovation,” said Viacom CEO Bob Bakish during their earnings call last week.

NBCUniversal Shuts Down 3 Cable Networks

It seems as though Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, is cleaning house as it will be shutting down its third cable network in just the last 5 weeks.

The crime-themed channel Cloo, which launched in 2006 as the Sleuth channel, is now no more — effective February 1. It will join the Oxygen and the Esquire channels as soon-to-be former channels of NBCUniversal.

Cloo carried mostly reruns of crime procedural dramas such as Law & Order, Monk, and Psych.

FuboTV Launches a New Live TV Streaming Service

FuboTV has long been known as a sports-oriented streaming service. Now, it wants to move into the growing live TV field with a new streaming package.

FuboTV recently announced that it had come to agreements with Fox Networks Group, NBCUniversal, A+E Networks, Crown Media Family Networks, Fuse Media, NBA TV and The Weather Channel. Starting tomorrow, FuboTV will launch a $34.99 per month streaming service that will offer add-on packages, cloud DVR capability, look back and start over offerings, and access to more than 25 TV Everywhere apps from its programming partners. In total, the new $34.99 service will include 45+ channels and free access to BeIN content as well as Regional Sports Networks at no extra cost.

Fubo TV is available on Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Android, and iOS devices.

Sling TV’s DVR Comes to More Devices

Sling TV’s CEO, Roger Lynch, announced during a recent live Twitter Periscope chat that their DVR Beta will start rolling out to Fire TV, Android TV, and Android Mobile devices “very soon.” Shortly after that, it will come out to the Apple TV.

Cloud DVR Features

  • Availability – Cloud DVR will be available across all Roku devices to beta customers who subscribe to the single-stream service, Sling Orange, and/or the multi-stream service, Sling Blue.
  • Entertainment on your time – Record movies, episodes or full series, with the ability to pause, rewind or fast-forward recorded content. DVR functionality not available on all channels.
  • Conflict-free recording – Users may record multiple programs simultaneously, with no recording conflicts.
  • Easy access – DVR content is integrated directly into Sling TV’s “My TV” screen for immediate access to recordings.
  • Simple space management – Sling TV automatically manages DVR space to make room for new recordings by deleting the oldest ‘watched’ recording when capacity is full.
  • Storage – Up to 100 hours of cloud DVR storage at no extra charge
  • More features to come – Sling TV will continue to evolve the cloud DVR throughout the beta time period based on customer feedback and usage behavior. DVR features planned for future development include the ability to upgrade storage space and protect recordings.

The milestone that changed cord cutting forever was the announcement in January, 2015 that Sling TV would be coming to the U.S. market. If you had told cord cutters two years ago, that ESPN, FS1, HBO, CNN, and pretty much every cable TV channel would be legally available to cord cutters, many of them would have most likely laughed at you. However, not only do cord cutters now have access to these great channels but also many of them will soon be available from seven different streaming services.

Even if you are not a fan of Sling TV, you really should thank the service for changing the future of cord cutting. If Sling TV had failed, it is likely that many of the services cord cutters enjoy today would have had second thoughts about coming to market.