NBCUniversal will launch its own streaming OTT service in 2020. the new service will also be available in Europe.
The service will be free for the 52 million customers of Comcast Cable and Sky pay-TV and will be ad-supported, making use of interactive advertising. There will also be an ad-free premium version available.
The service is expected to feature original content and programming from outside partners as well as material from the company’s archives, including Universal Studios. Non-pay TV customers can purchase a subscription separately.
Bonnie Hammer will lead the new platform as chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises for NBCUniversal.
Hammer will build a team that will include key executives from Sky’s OTT offering, Now TV, and throughout NBCUniversal. In addition, NBCUniversal’s Digital Enterprises group, led by Maggie Suniewick, will move into Hammer’s consolidated digital group.
“NBCUniversal has some of the world’s most valuable intellectual property and top talent, both in front of and behind the camera. Many of the most-watched shows on today’s popular streaming platforms come from NBCUniversal. Our new service will be different than those presently in the market and it will be built on the company’s strengths, with NBCUniversal’s great content and the technology expertise, broad scale and the wide distribution of Comcast Cable and Sky,” said Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal.
“People are watching premium content more than ever, but they want more flexibility and value. NBCUniversal is perfectly positioned to offer a variety of choices, due to our deep relationships with advertisers and distribution partners, as well as our data-targeting capabilities. Advertising continues to be a major part of the entertainment ecosystem and we believe that a streaming service, with limited and personalised ads, will provide a great consumer experience.”
In the US, the company hopes to strike deals with Charter, DirecTV, Dish Network and others. In Europe, NBCU will use the team that set up Sky’s Now TV OTT service to roll out the new venture.
The move by NBCUniversal comes as no surprise, as Disney and WarnerMedia are now gearing up their own streaming OTT services to compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
At the moment, NBCU has a 30% interest in Hulu via Comcast. Hulu’s ownership picture is changing with Disney’s pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox and Disney is expected to try to buy out Comcast’s Hulu stake.