NBCUniversal Announces Free Streaming Service

Comcast’s NBCUniversal division has announced plans to launch a free, ad-supported streaming service in early 2020.

Details were scarce but the company confirmed that the new service will draw on NBCUniversal’s content library — which includes some of the world’s most popular television and film franchises — “broad reach of over 90 million U.S. households,” and technology platforms developed by parent-company Comcast and sister-company Sky, which operates in Europe.

The service, which will feature original programming and content from outside partners in addition to existing NBCUniversal content, will be available at no cost to NBCUniversal’s pay-TV subscribers and on a subscription basis to non-pay-TV subscribers. An ad-free version will also be available for a fee, according to NBCUniversal.

The company noted that it will continue to license NBCUniversal content to other studios and platforms, while “retaining 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, NBCUniversal.

“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. 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.”

The move follows in the footsteps of Disney, which in 2017 announced plans to introduce a streaming service late this year.