Viacom Inc. (VIAB - Get Report) and T-Mobile US (TMUS - Get Report) said Wednesday that the pair had reached a "major" content agreement that would see channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central to be carried on mobile phones on the country's third largest wireless network.
Viacom and T-Mobile said the deal will given both live linear feeds, as well as a broad range of on-demand content, to the carrier's 80 million customers. The tie-up comes as content providers and tech companies are rushing to offer bespoke platforms as they attempt to win market share from early movers such as Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) and Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) . Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) unveiled its own streaming service last week, while Walt Disney Co. (DIS - Get Report) will show its service to investors on April 11.
"Viacom represents the best of the best, most-popular brands on cable, so they are an amazing partner for us!" said T-Mobile CEO John Legere. "TV programming has never been better, but consumers are fed up with rising costs, hidden fees, lousy customer service, non-stop BS.
"Macgyvering together a bunch of subscriptions, apps and dongles isn't much better. That's why T-Mobile is on a mission to give consumers a better way to watch what they want, when they want."
Viacom shares were marked 1.32% higher in pre-market trading Wednesday following the content announcement, indicating an opening bell price of $29.20 each. T-Mobile shares were seen little-changed at $69.80 each.
"We are thrilled to join forces with T-Mobile on a new entertainment service that represents an important evolution in how audiences consume our content," said Viacom CEO Bob Bakish. "Today's landmark announcement marks a major step forward in our strategy to accelerate the presence of our brands on mobile and other next-generation platforms, and we're so excited to partner with T-Mobile to provide millions of subscribers with access to our networks and more choice in a new service that will be unlike any other in the market."
Viacom posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings in February and said it would produce more shows with Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) as it seeks to leverage its content in the face of intensifying streaming competition for viewers.
Viacom also told analysts on its conference call that its Nickelodeon division will produce two films --"Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "The Loud House" -- for Netflix in a move it hopes will keep viewers engage across both platforms.
Viacom had warned that DirecTV customers could lose access to channels such as Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount after accusing AT&T of "busing its new market position by favoring its own content".
A March 22 deadline to renew the previous contract, which had paid Viacom around $1 billion in annual carriage fees, passed without progress, but the two sides came to an agreement Monday in a deal that looks to have boosted shares in both groups.