NBCUniversal Streaming Service To Be Free With Ads

The streaming service field is only going to expand in the coming years, and in 2020 that will grow to include NBCUniversal's own streaming platform, which doesn't yet have a name. It doesn't have a price either, though at their upfront presentation this year NBCUniversal Ad-Sales Chief Linda Yaccarino did suggest that the price could end up being free. During the presentation, Yaccarino touched on their competitors and their price plans, but NBCUniversal wants to bring in advertisers unlike their opponents, and that means an ad-driven platform that could be free to consumers if things work out (via Variety).

“Next year we’re going to unveil the largest initiative in our company’s history: We’re going to have our own ad-supported platform,” Yaccarino said. “While other companies are pushing advertisers out, we’re bringing them in. It will have a slate of originals and a gigantic library of all favorites. The shows that people love the most and stream the most are coming home at a price that every person can afford: free.”

That type of structure would definitely set it apart from its competition, and if it works would be much more advertiser-friendly than other options out there. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the upcoming WarnerMedia service include ad-free viewing as part of the subscription fee, while other services like CBS All Access and Hulu offer a cheaper ad plan and a more expensive ad-free plan.

NBCUniversal's plan seems to be completely free at this time, which would give it a nice way to counter Disney+'s price advantage of $6.99, which is by far the best value proposition of all the services. NBCUniversal will have to make sure though that the ads aren't too frequent, something Hulu has managed to find a sweet spot with.

It will also come down to exclusive content. Disney's owned IP is expansive and just continues to grow, including Star Wars, Marvel, Fox properties, and Disney's own internally developed properties, and that's not an easy thing to counter. NBCUniversal will have a wealth of franchises and IP to feature as well, but it remains to be seen how that will stack up against the competition, and hopefully, we'll get a better idea later in the year.

As for its competition, Netflix and Amazon Prime will continue to expand in original content, while Disney+ will launch later this year. CBS All-Access is also expanding original programming, and WB will be moving into the space at some point as well with a WarnerMedia service. There's also DC Universe, which holds original content like Titans and the upcoming Swamp Thing.

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