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Steve Burke Compares Current State of Streaming to ‘Cable in the 1970s or 1980s’

NBCUniversal CEO says he’ll launch his SVOD platform in ”about a year“

NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said on Thursday that streaming is still in its infancy. That means his company’s own SVOD platform, which he expects to launch in “about a year,” won’t be late to the party.

“You watch CNBC, you would assuming streaming — that all of the entrants are in and it’s a big battle between two or three of them,” Burke said Thursday on parent-company Comcast’s first-quarter 2019 earnings conference call. “We actually think it’s very, very early innings — in some ways reminiscent of cable in the 1970s or 1980s.”

Guess who owns CNBC? Right.

Burke said he still expects “a lot of entrants” into the market, which each “leveraging their own unique assets.” Yes, including his.

That looks to be the case, with marquee companies like Apple and Disney debuting their own streaming services later this year. Disney recently introduced investors to Disney+, its service set for a November launch date at a price of $6.99 per month. Disney+ will be the exclusive home to several major franchises, including Marvel and “Star Wars,” as well as kid favorites like “Toy Story” and “Frozen.” WarnerMedia is also poised to enter the market later this year with its own service.

NBCUniversal’s entrance could become a potential headache for Netflix, the dominant streaming service today. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out earlier this week, NBCUniversal could decide to pull Netflix’s top show, “The Office,” for its own service once its licensing agreement expires in 2021.

NBCUniversal has “hundreds” of people working on their to-come streaming service, which will launch in “about a year,” Burke tacked on.

Read all about Comcast’s Q1 earnings here.