NBC is Going to Launch an Ad-Supported Streaming Service in Q1 2020

Another day, another company is launching another streaming service. At least this one’s not arriving for another year.

According to a report from CNBC, NBC is going to launch its own streaming service in the first quarter of 2020. This will be a free, ad-supported option for folks who are already paying for TV. But here’s the kicker: NBC’s free option will actually be available for people who are paying for competing services from the likes of Charter, AT&T, and others. So basically if you’re paying for TV you can get NBC’s streaming option at no additional cost — you’ll just have to watch some ads.

According to the report, NBC will be offering up 1,500 hours of shows like Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, and others. In addition to that, there will be “hundreds of hours” of movies from Universal, and the service will apparently cost around $12 per month.

NBC is still working on the deals, aiming to finalize everything before it can get anything off the ground. And apparently, because it’s free, NBC thinks it will get a lot of subscribers right out of the gate:

“Because the service will be free for the millions of people that already subscribe to pay-TV, NBC is banking on quickly growing to 30 million or 40 million users with its service, as opposed to slowly growing a paid service and starting at zero subscribers, the person said.”

As far as the ads are concerned, NBC is aiming to run between three and five minutes of commercials for every hour of content.

“One of the interesting things about this that makes it different and innovative is that we’ll have a big emphasis on free-to-consumer,” Burke said. “We want to create a platform that has significant scale and can scale quickly. The best way to do that, is make it free to consumers and leverage the fact that NBCUniversal’s sister company is a cable company and now owns Sky.”

As for why NBC thinks it can do all this? The company sees an opening. NBC believes there isn’t an option right now for a “long-form, ad supported streaming service”. Netflix, for example, doesn’t have commercials but costs a monthly fee. Hulu costs a monthly fee, too, and runs ads basically all the time.

“The company sees an opening because there is no long-form, ad-supported streaming service, the person said. For example, Hulu costs $7.99, but has regular ad breaks. Netflix has long-form content, but costs a monthly fee. And YouTube is primarily short-form, user-generated content and supported by ads. NBCUniversal does not plan on aggressively pulling back shows and movies it has licensed to other streaming services, the person said.”

This service will also offer live TV and sports coverage.

NBC has an interesting idea here at least, offering up the free service for people who are paying for TV from competing platforms. Will it take off? Can the service really get that many millions of customers as quickly as it’s hoping? Would you sign up for something like this?

The streaming options out there are plentiful. We’ve got Apple’s own option that’s probably coming soon, and it may be free to Apple device owners. And then there’s AT&T’s new streaming service coming soon. And let’s not forget the incoming Disney+! Plus all the options out there that are already available. How many do you subscribe to?

[via CNBC]