NBCU sets SVOD launch

The still unnamed streamer isn't likely to commission many originals, banking instead on its existing catalogues for launch, CEO Steve Burke said on the earnings call.
July 25, 2019

On its quarterly earnings call, NBC Universal revealed it will launch its forthcoming streaming service in April 2020, setting up a heated streaming space over the next year.

The still unnamed streamers’ launch joins not only Disney+ and Apple TV+, both set to launch this year, but also WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, which will launch next spring. There are few details available for the launch, though The Office fans can look forward to enjoying back episodes of the popular series.

On the kids front, the streaming service’s announcement comes on the heels of news that NBCU will pull the plug on original programming for its Universal Kids linear channel. Producers hoping the new SVOD would fill that original production gap might be left wanting, as CEO Steve Burke said on the call that the primary focus for the launch will be building out the licensed catalogue and acquired content. While the streamer will spend some money on original programming, the majority will be tied to existing library titles that the media company already owns.

While the streaming wars heat up, there are continued concerns over how much consumers are actually willing to pay to subscribe. A study from Ampere released earlier this year found that Americans are willing to “stack” their SVOD services, with 70% signed up for more than one streamer. And while Netflix was the dominant player in this category (with more than 70% of households subscribed to the streaming giant), new research from The Hollywood Reporter and research firm Morning Consult put the ceiling at $21. This may actually give NBCU an edge, as its SVOD will be a free, ad-supported platform.




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