NBCUniversal Announces a New Streaming Service to Compete with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney, and WarnerMedia

NBCUniversal announced this morning that they plan to launch a streaming service in early 2020. Unlike traditional paid streaming services, NBC’s will be free to anyone who subscribes to a pay TV service, including vMVPDs.

The service will include ~1,500 NBC TV shows, as well as Universal’s library of movies. While the service will be free with ads to paid TV subscribers, others will be able to subscribe for ~$12 a month according to CNBC. Subscribers will also be able to upgrade to get an ad-free version of the 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. It is unknown what this means for NBCU’s relationship with Hulu. The company currently owns 30% of the service, but with Disney now owning a majority stake after their acquisition of Fox — NBCU may try to sell their stake

The announcement comes as most major companies plan to launch streaming subscriptions in the next year. Both Disney and WarnerMedia (owned by AT&T) are planning to launch later this year, while Apple has been prepping their own as well.