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NBCU Chief Steve Burke Says New Streaming Service Could Recover & # 39; The Office & # 39; from Netflix in 2021; Exec Reorg No threat to Andy Lack



Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, said the start of an ad-supported streaming service at the beginning of 2020 will enable the company to look more closely at bringing key terms such as Office back

The sitcom licensed to Netflix through 2021 has gained popularity in the streaming space, which is almost comparable to that of Friends whose fate struck a part of dealmaking and spoke in December as Netflix extend its license with WarnerMedia. The decision to restore the Friends agreement was lucrative for AT&T and WarnerMedia, but raised some strategic issues as the company has its own subscription streaming launch this year.

In an interview with Deadline after Burke said it is a "safe assumption" that the company will attempt to recover titles such as The Office . He said other top-stream lines that DreamWorks Animation movies could also return from Netflix when they did lapse.

Regarding the reorg who wants NBC News Head Andy Lack, now reports to Mark Lazarus, president of Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News, rather than Burke, the boss said it had no impact on Lack's status. Anyone wondering about the shift in the face of the precious settlement with Megyn Kelly and other recent imperfections "shouldn't be wondering," Burke said. "He does a good job."

The not yet named NBCU streaming service will start with about 15,000 hours of programming derived from the wide range of broadcast, cable, movie, news and sports operations under the corporate tent. 19659005] "There will be a lot of competition in the streaming room and we want our own direct-to-streaming service," Burke said. "At the same time, we will still produce content for everyone, not just the DTC service.

Earlier niche efforts by the company as the comedy-oriented SeeSo proved to be unsuccessful and the company's single subscription service is currently NBC Sports Gold. The "unique and different" aspect to the 2020 launch, Burke emphasized, is the foundation it will enjoy in the overall reach of 52 million homes for Comcast and Sky across the US and Europe. Comcast bought Sky, once an important building block for Rupert Murdoch, last year for $ 40 billion after a bidding war with Fox.

"We'll try to get a lot of scale fast," Burke said. The path to the scale contrasts in many ways with that taken by WarnerMedia and Disney. as ramp up subscription expired from scratch zero. As Netflix continues to be a balloon in size, the scoreboard shows the size of the challenge. In addition to the big three SVODs – Netflix, Amazon and Hulu – no other major subscription services have repeated their television size despite years of trials and promising signs of progress.

Rival pay-TV providers such as Charter or DirecTV will also eventually offer NBCU service, burke said as an added value for consumers. "About 80% of viewers are in the pay-TV ecosystem," he noted. Those outside the bundle will also be able to sign up for a fee. Internal forecasts require an advantage for NBCU of more than $ 5 per day. Subscriber, which allows the company to counteract the ongoing pressure on linear advertising. An ad-free version of the service will be made available for $ 12 to $ 14 a month, which is equivalent to the ongoing rate for top-end services.

Meanwhile, a new streaming organization is being built under the leadership of long-term leaders guru Bonnie Hammer, NBCU will continue to play the long game with Hulu, Burke confirmed. As one of the original content partners behind the 12-year streaming service, NBC has a 30% stake in it. When Disney closes its $ 71.3 billion deal to acquire most of 21st Century Fox, Disney will manage 60% of Hulu. But Bob Iger and his team see Hulu as one of the three pillars of Disney's streaming strategy, along with ESPN + and Disney +. Even as a minority owner of Hulu, NBCU has seats on the table, data from the 25 million subscribers to be collected and a financial profit motive to be invested. It is true that Hulu loses money (about $ 1.5 billion Last year), but the asset is estimated to be worth $ 5 billion. Dollars.

Saying it was early in the process, Burke refused to offer many specifications about the mix of the original programming on streaming service or budget levels for them shows. Yet he said, "Originals must be important, just like our library and product that has been on linear television." In many respects, the company's approach to production across its study business will apply to streaming efforts. "If someone creates a TV series and we're lucky enough to own it, we should put that show where it makes the most sense," Burke said.

The upswing of Lazarus and Jeff Shell, adding entertainment, international and Telemundo to its portfolio, introduces new layers into the NBCU exec structure, but it also reduces the number of direct reports to Burke to 12 from 20. "We've been a lot of flat organization for the last eight years, though a successful, "CEO said, referring to the date of comcast's acquisition of full control over NBCU. He said there was a "logic" for Lazarus to take on NBC News and Cable as so much of it has East Coast presence, and this is where the executive has been based. Shell, on the other hand, is based in LA, making it more logical for him to manage entertainment.

From a technical point of view, the streaming service will lean heavily on NU TV, an on-demand service launched in 2012 by Sky. Two top executives from NU will focus on the customer experience aspect – the look, function and function – of the new service. In terms of technical support and customer service, Burke said the operation would be separated from the major divisions within Comcast and Sky charged to respond to customer complaints.


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