Advanced Television

Comcast to take NOW TV global

January 25, 2019

By Chris Forrester

Comcast revealed during its analyst briefing this week that it will launch a global version of Sky’s OTT service NOW TV in 2020.

Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal and SVP/Comcast, praised NOW TV as a “direct to consumer” product.

“One of the good things about what’s going on right now in the television business is people are watching professionally produced content at higher levels than ever, we’re just not monetising as well online as we should. And so what we’ve come up with is we’re taking some of the most popular shows on television that we produce and we’re going to offer them for free to 80 per cent of the people in the United States who are multi-channel customers for free to Sky customers in Europe and also to people who are not part of the eco system at a fee that would be comparable to other people in the SVoD business,” he said

“The servers will have a very light ad load of targetable ads. And we know there’s a huge demand for digital advertising, interactive digital advertising. In fact, we were constantly trying to find more ad inventory because advertisers want to be in very, very good professionally produced content. So our idea to enter the business is to leverage Sky’s technology, it’s called NOW TV in Europe and also parts of what we’ve been doing at NBC and Comcast Cable. We think this approach has a much better chance to get scale quickly. There’s nothing better than free for consumers and we have enough product that consumers are currently viewing on other platforms online for free and charge that we think putting it all together in one place very, very good technology and then leveraging our relationship with Comcast Cable and Sky. There are a lot of approaches to get into the market and we think this one is attractive to consumers,” Burke continued.

“We also think financially it’s more attractive because you get scale more quickly and we think it’s highly likely that will reduce the amount of investment we need to make coming into the business and also accelerate our ability to get to breakeven. We plan to launch in the first half of 2020 and we’re spending a lot of time right now developing the technology, getting the management team in place so that we can get going soon enough,” concluded Burke.

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