NBCUniversal plans to launch a new direct-to-consumer streaming service early next year that will feature programming from the company’s content library as well as outside partners.
Comcast and Sky’s 52 million pay TV subscribers will have access to the ad-supported service for free, while a commercial-free version will be available for a yet-to-be-announced price. NBCU will also offer non-pay TV customers the option to purchase subscriptions for the service.
The company said it will maintain a broad distribution strategy and continue to license content to other studios and platforms, while keeping rights to certain titles for the new service.
“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 of NBCUniversal, in a statement.
Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCU Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios, was promoted to chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises for NBCU and will head up the new streaming service.
As part of the leadership change, Mark Lazarus is taking over cable operations from Hammer as his role expands to chairman of NBCUniversal Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News.
Jeff Shell is now chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, adding NBC entertainment to his responsibilities, including the company’s international division and Telemundo.
“People are watching premium content more than ever, but they want more flexibility and value. 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,” Burke added. “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.”