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Published on January 14th, 2019 | by Brad Gibson


NBCUniversal to launch standalone streaming service in 2020

Comcast’s NBCUniversal is planning to launch its own ad-supported streaming television service in the first quarter of 2020, the company announced Monday, that will be free to anyone that subscribes to a traditional pay-TV service.

It is highly likely the service will be available at launch as a standalone app on many streaming devices, including Apple TV.

Consumers who don’t subscribe to the streaming pay-TV service – which will include 1,500 hours of NBC TV shows, such as SNL and Parks and Recreation, and hundreds of hours of Universal movies – will cost somewhere about $12 a month, a person familiar with the company’s plans told CNBC.

NBC plans to air between three to five minutes of ads per hour of programming, with the aim to make $5 per month for every user on advertising alone. A source told Variety the company is hoping to quickly grow the service to 30 million or 40 million users, but gave no time frame for that growth.

NBC still needs to sign deals with other pay-TV providers, something it hasn’t yet to do contractually. Though NBC is planning its own streaming service, the company says it will not be getting rid of various shows and movies it has licensed to other streaming services.

The service will include live TV, including news and sports, in addition to on-demand programming. The launch – expected before the 2020 Summer Olympics begin on July 24th of that year in Tokyo, Japan – will likely include a major focus of the streaming service in an effort to draw more people to the platform. The service will also bring in content from other companies like Sony, Discovery and Warner Bros.

NBCUniversal’s parent company Comcast owns 30 percent of Hulu, which its new service will compete with. According to Variety, Disney is expected to attempt a buy-out for Comcast’s share, but Comcast doesn’t expect to sell in the near future. It notes that content created by NBCUniversal drives 17 percent of all viewing on Hulu.


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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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