Comcast’s NBCUniversal has revealed plans to launch a free, ad-supported streaming service to anyone in the US that subscribes to a traditional pay-TV service – including competitors such as Charter, AT&T, Cox and Dish – as well as through European pay-TV provider Sky.
The service is scheduled for an early 2020 launch and will be led by Bonnie Hammer, who has been promoted to Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises for NBCUniversal.
For those that don’t subscribe to a pay-TV service, the streaming product, which will include 1,500 hours of NBC TV shows such as The Good Place and Parks and Recreation (pictured), and hundreds of hours of Universal movies, will reportedly cost around $12 (€10.5) a month.
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.
He added, “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.
Separately, Burke has announced a reorganisation of his senior leadership team, which will align its content businesses under two executives, Mark Lazarus and Jeff Shell.
Lazarus has been named Chairman, NBCUniversal Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News, and will assume responsibility for most of the company’s East Coast-based content businesses, including the cable entertainment portfolio, NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC. In addition, Lazarus will continue to oversee the NBC Sports Group, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations and NBC Affiliate Relations.
Since joining the Company in 2011, Lazarus has overseen NBC Sports and added oversight of Broadcast for NBC in 2016. Under his leadership, the company has forged new deals with the Olympics, NFL, NASCAR, the Premier League and the NHL, among many other partnerships.
Shell has been named Chairman, NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, adding NBC Entertainment to his purview. He will continue to oversee film and will also now be responsible for NBCUniversal’s international division and Telemundo.