Get ready to add yet another service to your ever-growing collection. Amid a flurry of executive shakeups, NBCUniversal announced that it has its own streaming service in the works, with an eye on a 2020 debut.
NBCUniversal said that the new service will include both “homegrown original programming as well as content from outside partners,” and that its subscription model will be a little different than what you’re used to. If you’re a pay-TV subscriber or a Comcast or Sky customer, you will be able to use NBCUniversal’s service for free, while cord-cutters will be able to access the service via a traditional subscription fee.
The new service will be ad-supported, although NBCUniversal claims that customers will be able to remove advertisements from the stream for an additional fee. Pricing information is not available yet — expect that to come a little closer to the service’s 2020 launch date.
The new service won’t be NBCUniversal’s first foray into the streaming market. NBCUniversal’s parent company, Comcast, owns a stake in Hulu, although Disney will end up with control of that service once its much-ballyhooed Fox acquisition becomes final. Seeso, NBCUniversal’s comedy-focused streaming service, opened in 2016, only to shut down a little over a year and a half later.
It’s not clear what the upcoming service means for NBCUniversal programming on other streaming platforms, although there’s a good chance that you’ll need to become an NBCUniversal subscriber to watch them. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke told Deadline that it’s a “safe assumption” that the company will try to reclaim streaming rights to series like The Office, which former NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt claimed was the most popular acquired show on Netflix. NBCU and Netflix’s deal regarding The Office expires in 2021.
NBCUniversal joins a growing number of media companies establishing their own streaming services, including a few of its direct competitors. CBS All Access, home to Star Trek: Discovery and Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone reboot, launched in 2014, while the Marvel and Star Wars-heavy Disney+ is scheduled to debut later this year.
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