NBCUniversal, owned by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), plans to launch an ad-supported direct-to-consumer streaming video service in early 2020. The service will be led by Bonnie Hammer, who has been promoted to chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises for NBCUniversal.
The service will draw on NBCUniversal's content library, as well as its reach of more than 90 million U.S. households, plus Comcast and Sky's technology platforms. It will feature television and film, including original programming as well as content from outside partners.
The ad-supported service will be available at no cost to NBCUniversal's pay TV subscribers in the United States and major international markets. Comcast and Sky will provide the service to their 52 million total subscribers. An ad-free version will also be available for a fee. Additionally, non-pay TV customers can purchase a subscription to the service. NBCUniversal will continue to license content to other studios and platforms, while retaining rights to certain titles for its new service.
Hammer will build a team that will include 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," Burke said. "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 personalized ads, will provide a great consumer experience."