A year from now it looks like we’ll be in the midst of a new stage of the streaming wars.
Both Disney and WarnerMedia are targeting launches of their direct-to-consumer services in late 2019, and now Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, has confirmed NBCUniversal is working on their own service that will launch in 2020 reports The Los Angeles Times.
Bonnie Hammer will head up the service which will be available in an ad-free version for a fee, or an ad-supported one at no cost. Both versions will be available to NBCUniversal’s pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. and major international markets.
Comcast Cable and Sky will provide the service to their collective 52 million subscribers in the U.S. and Europe. In addition, viewers without pay-TV service can buy a subscription to the service. The aim is to be available to and engage a subscriber base quickly (hence the ‘free with ads’ option), leveraging off their existing infrastructure and deals to do so.
NBCU will continue to license content to other studios and platforms, while retaining rights to certain titles for its new service. It will also allow the company to potentially bring catalogue titles like “The Office” back under its purview when its deal with Netflix expires in 2021.
The plan is to launch with around 15,000 hours of programming derived from the wide array of broadcast (NBC), cable (USA, SYFY, Bravo, Oxygen, E!), film (Universal Pictures), news and sports operations.
When the Disney-Fox deal closes in coming weeks, Disney will control the easy majority of Hulu with the remainder belonging to NBCU who could divest themselves of it, but reportedly are intending to stay invested.