NBCU Shakes Up Management Looking Ahead to Streaming

Comcast’s NBCUniversal said it will be launching a new streaming service in 2020 and is shuffling the responsibilities of some of its key executives.

Bonnie Hammer, who had been in charge of NBCU’s cable portfolio, was named chairman, direct-to-consumer and digital enterprises for NBC.

Mark Lazarus, who had been head of NBCU’s broadcast and sports businesses, was named chairman of NBCU Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News.

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Jeff Shell has been named chairman, NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, adding NBC Entertainment to his portfolio.

NBCU said its streaming service will draw on the company’s content library and technology from both Comcast and the recently acquired Sky. The ad supported service will be available at no cost to NBCU’s pay TV subscribers in the U.S. and international markets.

NBC said that between Comcast Cable and Sky, 52 million subscribers will get the service free.

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An ad-free version will be available for a fee.

Non-pay TV subscribers will be able to buy the service.

NBCU said it will continue to license content to other studios and platforms, while retaining rights to certain title for the new service.

NBCU is jumping into the streaming business at a time when traditional pay TV operators like Comcast Cable are losing subscribers. NBC will be facing competition from Netflix, Hulu (which Comcast owns a stake in) and Amazon, as well as new services planned by The Walt Disney Co. and AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit.

“NBCUniversal has some of the world’s most valuable intellectual property and top talent, both in front of and behind the camera. Many of the most-watched shows on today’s popular streaming platforms come from NBCUniversal,” said Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal. “Our new service will be different than those presently in the market and it will be built on the company’s strengths, with NBCUniversal’s great content and the technology expertise, broad scale and the wide distribution of Comcast Cable and Sky,”

Burke added that “people are watching premium content more than ever, but they want more flexibility and value. NBCUniversal is perfectly positioned to offer a variety of choices, due to our deep relationships with advertisers and distribution partners, as well as our data-targeting capabilities. Advertising continues to be a major part of the entertainment ecosystem and we believe that a streaming service, with limited and personalized ads, will provide a great consumer experience.” 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.