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Everything We Learned About NBCU’s Upcoming Streaming Service From The NBC Upfront

Jason Gurwin

At NBCU Upfront in New York yesterday, NBC shared some details of their upcoming streaming service that is expected to launch in 2020. Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s Chairman of Advertising said, “While other companies are pushing advertisers out, we’re bringing them in.”

Unlike services like Netflix and Prime Video, the service will be free to anyone who subscribes to a pay TV service, including vMVPDs. Similar to Hulu though, the service will offer an ad-free tier for an additional fee — which has been previously reported at $10+.

Yaccarino said the service will have “new originals and a gigantic library of old favorites.” It’s expected to include ~1,500 NBC TV shows, as well as Universal’s library of movies. But the main question is, will it include The Office, which is the most popular show on Netflix? Yaccarino indicated that many of NBC shows would be “coming home” and discussed great characters like “Jim and Pam.”

The same discussion is happening across the industry. Earlier this year, Netflix struck a deal with WarnerMedia to extend Friends on their service until the end of 2019. However, with WarnerMedia launching their own streaming service, it is likely that the show will end of on their service.

NBC hopes by making it free, it can quickly amass a 20-30 million subscriber base similar to that of Netflix and Hulu. They expect to be able to accrue $5 in ad-revenue per month per subscriber by airing 3-5 minutes of ads per hour. The company’s longtime cable chief, Bonnie Hammer, will shift to oversee the OTT service, as well as the digital unit for NBCUniversal.

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