The latest trend amongst giant multimedia conglomerates is launching a new video streaming service for consumers, with NBCUniversal being amongst them. During a Comcast earnings call, which somehow sounds both boring and evil, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke mentioned that the as-of-yet-to-be-titled service will launch sometime in April of 2020.
According to Burke (per Variety), more than 500 people are working on the service, which will work off the same digital infrastructure of Now, a European streaming platform from Comcast-owned company Sky. While NBCUniversal’s service will be the home of a number of programs already in the company’s library, Burke stated that they intend to invest in original programs.
That doesn’t necessarily mean “new” programs, with an example that Burke cited being A.P. Bio. The Mike O’Brien-created and Glenn Howerton-starring sitcom first aired on the airwaves through NBC proper, but was canceled after two seasons. Just this month, NBCUniversal decided to bring it back for a third season, exclusively on their streaming service. The phrase Burke used to elaborate on his comments on programming was “originals tied to libraries [NBCUniversal] currently own,” while emphasizing that future competitor Netflix has about 80% acquired content in their library.
One of those acquired shows is The Office, the classic American sitcom that seems to be beloved by everyone who has a dating profile and think that being able to quote Michael Scott is a unique personality trait. As fans of the show know, it will remain on Netflix until the end of 2020, after which NBC gets the exclusive streaming rights back thanks to a recent deal. That will be much too late for the planned April 2020 launch, so the folks behind that service are undoubtedly thinking of other incentives and marquee titles to get people on day one, or at the very least a name better than “CBS All Access” or “HBO Max.”
It’ll probably be the fact that NBCUniversal’s platform will be free, though through a pay television subscription and with advertisements. Cord cutters will be able to subscribe through a fee, but let’s be real: Comcast of all companies really want you to be subscribed to their cable plans.