NBCU Boss Says Upcoming Streaming Service Will Better Monetize Its Own Shows

“We do feel we under-monetize — significantly — on the internet,” Steve Burke says

Last Updated: January 23, 2019 @ 7:49 AM

NBCUniversal’s upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service will “monetize viewership better” for parent company Comcast, executives said Wednesday on an earnings conference call.

Keeping NBCU content for their own service, which Brian Roberts and Steve Burke plan to launch in the first half of 2020, is “financially more attractive” for shareholders, the two said several times during a media analyst Q&A.

“We do feel we under-monetize — significantly — on the internet,” Burke explained of his shows’ take in the current ecosystem, which sees them selling wholly owned content to other platforms. “We under-monetize on free platforms and we also under-monetize on SVOD platforms.”

“In terms of content and taking things that are currently licensed elsewhere and moving them to [our] platform, I think it is going to be very positive for us financially, because in effect, we’re going to be a brand new buyer,” Burke said.

So enjoy “The Office” while you have it, competitors. NBCU will still sell to others where appropriate, Burke promised.

In terms of revenue stream, NBCU’s upcoming streaming service will include a “light ad load,” Burke and Roberts said, fulfilling what they see as “huge demand for interactive digital advertising.”

The unnamed service, which will be led by Bonnie Hammer, will offer current and prior seasons of NBCU-owned shows, as well as original programming. It will be available for free to 54 million NBCU pay-cable subscribers, as well as for Sky subscribers in the U.K.

In the U.S., that means the upcoming streaming service will be free of charge for about 80 percent of households. It will be available to the remaining homes for a fee that is “comparable” to others in the SVOD business, the Comcast and NBC brass said.

Read more about the upcoming NBCUniversal streaming play here.