NBCUniversal revealed new details on its forthcoming streaming service at its upfront presentation Monday morning, painting a contrast with subscription ad-free competitors, like Disney+ and Netflix.
Calling it the “largest initiative in our company’s history,” NBCU ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino painted it as the only streaming option to offer scale, brand safety and ad opportunities.
“While other companies are pushing advertisers out, we are bringing you in,” Yaccarino told the crowd at Radio City Music Hall.
“With inventory that is fully addressable, data that is fully transparent, and an experience that consumers can enjoy and trust -- all along with a slate of new originals, and a gigantic library of old favorites. And at a price that every single person can afford. Free. Not a penny more for more than 80 million households,” she added.
Speaking of those old favorites, Yaccarino hinted that one particular show may be coming to NBCU’s upcoming service, telling the crowd "the shows that people love the most, and stream the most, are coming home.”
According to Nielsen’s SVOD content ratings, the most-watched show on Netflix in terms of minutes watched is “The Office,” an NBC program. Netflix has streaming rights to the show through 2021, but NBCU may have a carve-out for ad-supported streaming, enabling the net to bring it to their new service when it launches “by mid next year.”
The service will be “an unprecedented investment in data, technology, and content, including everything you saw today on a scale you cannot possibly imagine,” Yaccarino said.
The mid 2020 launch date means NBCU will likely be late to the streaming game. That may be one reason why it is taking a different approach to streaming than its competitors. Disney will launch the ad-free Disney+ service in November, while WarnerMedia expects to roll out a beta version of its streaming service late this year.
The NBCU service doesn’t have a name yet, something NBC late-night host Seth Meyers poked fun at during the upfront.
“Seriously though, it’s time to come up with a name for the streaming service. This is like when people still haven’t named their kid two weeks after it's born,” Meyers joked during his monologue. “What is taking you so long, it is going to be something like NBC+ or NBC Gold, right? We aren’t going to be calling it something crazy — like Apollo Sword or Hulu.”