Comcast and Google emerge as top contenders to serve ads on Netflix

A person's hand holding a remote control in front of a TV screen with a Netflix logo.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto )

Comcast’s NBCUniversal subsidiary and Google are the “top contenders” to serve advertisements on Netflix when the streaming service rolls out its planned ad-supported tier, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Netflix “is still in the early stages of developing the strategy and has explored a range of tie-ups in recent weeks,” the WSJ wrote, citing people familiar with the matter.

A deal with NBCUniversal would likely mean that “Comcast’s video ad unit, FreeWheel, would supply technology to help serve up ads, while NBCUniversal’s ad-sales team would help sell ads in the US and Europe,” the report said. The Alphabet-owned Google, of course, has plenty of experience serving ads, including on its own YouTube and YouTube TV video platforms. Netflix already uses Google’s ad-buying tools.

A deal with either NBCUniversal or Google would likely be exclusive, the WSJ report said. Comcast/NBCUniversal and Google aren’t the only contenders, as “Roku has also had early talks with Netflix about ad partnerships,” the report said. The Information reported last week that Netflix executives recently “met with representatives of both Roku and Comcast to discuss arrangements under which those companies would handle either the ad sales or the technical infrastructure for Netflix’s forthcoming ad-supported tier of service.”

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#comcast, #google, #nbcuniversal, #netflix, #policy

What We Learned About TV During Its Biggest Week

This week’s upfronts, when the media industry sells its programming to advertisers, showed how much has changed in the past few years.

#advertising-and-marketing, #cbs-corporation, #cnn, #discovery-channel, #disney-plus, #fox-news-channel, #nbcuniversal, #netflix-inc, #news-and-news-media, #online-advertising, #upfronts-television, #web-original-programming

Madison Avenue’s Biggest Event Returns, to a Whole New World

In the three years since the television industry’s biggest companies pitched their shows to advertisers in person at the so-called upfronts, the entertainment industry has been flipped on its head.

#advertising-and-marketing, #media, #nbcuniversal, #paramount-global, #television, #upfronts-television, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #walt-disney-company, #warner-bros-discovery, #youtube-com

Jen Psaki Is Said to Be in Talks to Join MSNBC

Ms. Psaki joined President Biden’s administration as his first press secretary.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #cable-television, #cnn, #msnbc, #nbcuniversal, #news-and-news-media, #peacock-services, #psaki-jennifer-r, #united-states-politics-and-government

Prepare Yourself for This Weekend’s ‘Crypto Bowl’

The Super Bowl will feature commercial breaks that embrace the usual jokes and celebrities plus a whole lot of blockchain.

#advertising-and-marketing, #celebrities, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #crypto-com-foris-dax-inc, #elba-idris, #football, #los-angeles-calif, #media, #nbcuniversal, #super-bowl, #television, #virtual-currency

‘Joined at the Hip’: Jeff Zucker’s Relationship With a Top CNN Executive

Allison Gollust, an executive vice president, has worked alongside Mr. Zucker for two decades. He cited their relationship as he abruptly resigned.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #cnn, #couric-katie, #discovery-channel, #nbc-news, #nbcuniversal, #news-and-news-media, #television, #today-tv-program, #warner-media-llc, #zucker-jeff

Rachel Maddow Is Taking a Hiatus at MSNBC

The anchor is expected to be off until April, leaving MSNBC with a hole in the coveted 9 p.m. weeknight time slot.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #bag-man-radio-program, #jones-rashida, #maddow-rachel, #morning-joe-tv-program, #msnbc, #nbcuniversal, #news-and-news-media, #television, #williams-brian

Now TV Wants Nielsen to Measure Up

After years of complaints, NBCUniversal and its peers are looking for other ways to count viewers, with or without the ratings giant.

#advertising-and-marketing, #cable-television, #media, #nbcuniversal, #nielsen-media-research, #ratings-audience-measurement, #television, #television-sets-and-media-devices, #viacomcbs-inc, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #yaccarino-linda

From Westerns to ‘Stranger Things,’ Hollywood Is Big Business in New Mexico

Streaming giants like Netflix and NBCUniversal are turning New Mexico into one of the country’s most coveted production hubs.

#movies, #nbcuniversal, #netflix-inc, #new-mexico, #production, #tax-credits-deductions-and-exemptions, #television

YouTube TV and NBC avoid blackout for now but are still at odds in negotiations

NBC's peacock-shaped logo on the NBC Tower in Chicago.

Enlarge / NBC’s logo on the NBC Tower in Chicago on March 25, 2011. (credit: Getty Images | Raymond Boyd )

YouTube TV and NBCUniversal are still at odds in negotiations over a new contract that would allow NBC channels to remain on the Google-owned streaming service. The existing contract was set to expire at 12 am ET today, but the companies agreed to a short extension that prevents a blackout for now.

“NBCUniversal and YouTube TV have agreed to a short extension while parties continue talks. NBCUniversal will not go dark on YouTube TV at midnight eastern tonight,” NBC said in a statement provided to Ars last night.

NBC declined to say how long the extension is, and YouTube TV owner Google did not comment. About 15 NBC-owned channels and eight regional NBC Sports networks could still go dark on YouTube TV if the companies don’t agree on terms before the extension expires.

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#comcast, #google, #nbcuniversal, #policy, #youtube-tv

NBC demanded that YouTube TV bundle Peacock or lose access to NBC channels

Sculpture of a large peacock.

Enlarge / A giant peacock in front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. (credit: Getty Images | NBC)

NBCUniversal recently asked YouTube TV to bundle Peacock, the NBC streaming service that has apparently failed to get many paying subscribers. The Comcast-owned NBC wants the Google-owned YouTube TV to pay for Peacock as a condition of continuing to have access to NBC channels after the companies’ current contract expires.

Google objected to the demand, and NBC is apparently willing to drop it. But a dispute over how much Google must pay NBC is still pending, and both sides have warned that YouTube TV subscribers could lose access to NBC channels.

NBC’s Peacock demand came during an ongoing carriage dispute between NBC and YouTube TV, according to a blog post yesterday by investor research firm LightShed Partners. The existing carriage contract between YouTube TV and NBC expires on Thursday, and about 15 NBCUniversal channels would be dropped from YouTube TV if the companies don’t strike a new deal in time.

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#biz-it, #comcast, #google, #nbcuniversal, #policy, #youtube-tv

As a Daytime Host, Kelly Clarkson Has No Fear of Being Vocal

After its first two seasons were disrupted by the pandemic, “The Kelly Clarkson Show” has big expectations to fulfill. But its host is ready to come back better and, yes, stronger.

#clarkson-kelly, #kelly-clarkson-show-the-tv-program, #nbcuniversal, #television

Paralympics to Open With Empty Stands but a Bigger Stage

Television exposure and new interest from sponsors are raising hopes that the Games can build on their momentum.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disabilities, #hunter-darlene, #international-olympic-committee, #international-paralympic-committee, #long-jessica-1992, #mcfadden-tatyana-1989, #national-broadcasting-co, #nbcuniversal, #nugent-greg, #olympic-games-2020, #paralympic-games, #united-states-olympic-and-paralympic-committee

Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s Top Host, Extends Her Contract

Ms. Maddow was reported to have expressed interest in leaving the network to pursue podcasting and streaming projects.

#cable-television, #maddow-rachel, #msnbc, #nbcuniversal, #news-and-news-media, #television

FandangoNOW and Vudu merge into a new streaming service with titles to rent, buy or stream free

Last year, movie ticketing and discovery business Fandango, a division of NBCUniversal, bought the on-demand video streaming service Vudu from Walmart, after the retailer had failed to capitalize on the service it had first acquired in 2010 for $100 million. Today, Fandango is taking the next steps with Vudu by merging the service with its existing streaming platform, FandangoNOW. The newly combined service will continue to use the name Vudu and will feature over 200,000 new release and catalog movies and TV shows to rent or buy without a subscription, as well as “thousands” of free-to-stream titles.

The company tells us it chose to stick with “Vudu” as its name because it’s already a popular brand with a loyal following and is significantly larger than the FandangoNOW service.

Despite the changes coming to the service, existing FandangoNOW customers won’t lose access to any of the content they already purchased. Both their movies and TV series will be automatically transferred over to the new Vudu service starting today.

Currently, Vudu’s on-demand library competes with Apple iTunes, Amazon Prime Video and Google Play/YouTube, as well as similar services from various telecos. In particular, these types of services appeal to those who want to watch new releases and have the option to own favorite movies and shows — rather than subscribe to services where such content comes and goes as licensing deals expire.

At launch, the newly merged Vudu will include new releases like “F9: The Fast Saga,” Pixar’s “Luca,” “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” “Peter Rabbit 2,” “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” “A Quiet Place Part II,” Disney’s “Cruella,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “In the Heights” and others. Next Tuesday, it will also gain access to Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” — the title that’s now the subject of a breach of contract lawsuit filed on behalf of actress Scarlett Johansson, who’s suing Disney for sending what was supposed to be a theatrical release directly to its streaming service Disney+ on opening day.

Image Credits: Fandango

Many titles are available in 4K Ultra HD and support formats such as Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, the company notes.

Vudu already has a large, built-in audience for its movie and TV marketplace. Fandango claims the service has over 60 million registered users and reaches “millions” on a daily basis.

By way of its expansive platform support, it’s capable of reaching over 75 million U.S. TV-connected device households, per NPD Group data. This includes Vudu’s support for Samsung, LG and Vizio smart TVs; the Roku platform, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex, PlayStation, Xbox, Tivo and others.

Following the merger and rebranding, the new Vudu service will also take FandangoNOW’s place as the official movie store on the Roku platform, where consumers can rent or purchase using Roku Pay.

Vudu joins Fandango’s existing digital network, which will continue to include Fandango’s movie ticketing business,, Flixster, Movieclips and Rotten Tomatoes. While the merger of the two services at least clears up some overlap within the Fandango division, NBCU parent company Comcast continues to have its own overlap issues when it comes to streaming. Comcast acquired ad-supported streaming service Xumo in February 2020 and, via NBCU, runs the year-old streaming service Peacock. As of yet, it hasn’t made any moves to centralize those efforts.

#fandango, #internet-television, #ma, #media, #movie, #movies, #nbcuniversal, #rentals, #roku, #streaming, #streaming-service, #television, #tv, #united-states, #vudu

Apple News partners with NBCUniversal to share exclusive Olympics content

It’s hard to keep up with the Olympics any year, let alone when they’re taking place in a time zone that’s 13 hours ahead of you (if you’re on the U.S. East Coast). Apple News on Monday announced a collaboration with NBCUniversal (the U.S. broadcast rights holder for the Olympics) to develop exclusive daily recaps and audio briefings, event schedules and medal counts to help fans keep tabs on the games.

NBC Sports is the go-to app for streaming any Olympic event, but it’s a bit buggy. To their credit, streaming so many different feeds at once is hard to pull off, but the app can be tricky to navigate. Even though the app has an impressive catalog of every event, there’s no easy way to catch up with all the triumphs and defeats that took place while half the world was asleep, so this collaboration with Apple News fills a necessary void in NBC’s existing offerings.

Image Credits: Apple News (Screenshots by TechCrunch)

One of the most useful features is the News app’s user-friendly schedule of every single Olympic event by sport, which can set calendar reminders for the events you can’t miss. (Though you might need to set your alarm for certain events, like the women’s gymnastics all-around final, which starts at 6:50 a.m. ET on Thursday. But don’t worry, for these highly anticipated events, there’ll be prime-time coverage, too). NBC Sports sends push notification reminders for sports that you choose, but a pre-set calendar event might be more useful for planning your evening (or early morning) Olympics viewing.

Of course, this partnership allows Apple to promote Apple Podcasts, which has more competition than ever as Spotify continues to grow and Facebook adds support for podcasts. NBC is pushing its Olympics podcasts like “The Podium” and “On Her Turf” pretty hard — “The Podium” often appears as a banner ad during live coverage on the web. Even though these shows aren’t exclusive to Apple, the partnership with NBC can only help drive traffic to their podcast platform.

#apple, #apple-news, #apps, #media, #nbc, #nbc-sports, #nbcuniversal, #olympics, #sports, #united-states

Why Are the Tokyo Olympics Still Happening?

Wondering why the Tokyo Games haven’t been canceled? The answer lies in billions of dollars, years of work and thousands of athletes who can’t wait any longer.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #international-olympic-committee, #nbcuniversal, #olympic-games-2020, #suga-yoshihide

CNN’s Jeff Zucker Sees Fortunes Changed with AT&T Deal

Phone buddies and golf partners, Jeff Zucker and David Zaslav have a 30-year history. Now Zucker may be open to working for the man he calls a “best friend.”

#att-inc, #cable-television, #cnn, #discovery-channel, #evans-robert-1930-2019, #kilar-jason, #media, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #nbcuniversal, #news-and-news-media, #television, #warner-media-llc, #zaslav-david-m, #zucker-jeff

How a Megadeal Reunited CNN’s Jeff Zucker With a Powerful Old Friend

Phone buddies and golf partners, Jeff Zucker and David Zaslav have a 30-year history. Now Zucker may be open to working for the man he calls a “best friend.”

#att-inc, #cable-television, #cnn, #discovery-channel, #evans-robert-1930-2019, #kilar-jason, #media, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #nbcuniversal, #news-and-news-media, #television, #warner-media-llc, #zaslav-david-m, #zucker-jeff

‘Girls5Eva,’ ‘Rutherford Falls’ and the Nostalgia Trap

Peacock, the streaming platform, relies on must-see reminiscing in two shows that are also warnings about living in the past.

#30-rock-tv-program, #bareilles-sara, #girls5eva-tv-program, #greyeyes-michael, #helms-ed, #national-broadcasting-co, #nbcuniversal, #philipps-busy, #rutherford-falls-tv-program, #television, #the-office-tv-program

Comcast Earnings Beat Expectations Amid Shift to Streaming

As it takes the risk of transforming itself from a TV giant into a streaming start-up, the cable operator beat investors’ estimates in its first-quarter results.

#advertising-and-marketing, #cable-television, #comcast-corporation, #company-reports, #nbcuniversal, #television, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #web-original-programming

Racist Moments in WWE Catalog Are Missing on Peacock Streaming

Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, is now showing old and new episodes of WWE Network wrestling. Some troubling segments in the network’s history disappeared in the transfer.

#discrimination, #nbcuniversal, #race-and-ethnicity, #world-wrestling-entertainment-inc, #wrestling

N.H.L. Returns to ESPN in a 7-Year Deal With an Emphasis on Streaming

The agreement assures hockey a higher profile on SportsCenter and gives ESPN the perfect sport for its streaming ambitions

#abc-inc, #bettman-gary, #disney-plus, #espn, #hockey-ice, #national-hockey-league, #nbcuniversal, #sportscenter-tv-program, #television, #walt-disney-company

The + That’s Taking Over Streaming Platforms

An idea that seemed like a real plus when streaming was newer has fallen into cliché.

#advertising-and-marketing, #disney-plus, #labeling-and-labels-product, #nbcuniversal, #paramount-pictures, #viacomcbs-inc, #walt-disney-company

Plus + Plus + Plus = Streaming Name Surplus

An idea that seemed like a real plus when streaming was newer has fallen into cliché.

#advertising-and-marketing, #disney-plus, #labeling-and-labels-product, #nbcuniversal, #paramount-pictures, #viacomcbs-inc, #walt-disney-company

Streaming services face their real test in 2021

After a year where the movie business was defined almost entirely by pauses and delays, Warner Bros. took decisive action on December 3.

It had only been a couple of weeks since the studio had announced that in the face of surging coronavirus numbers, it wouldn’t be delaying the Christmas release of “Wonder Woman 1984” yet again. Instead, it would launch the movie simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, the new streaming service from its parent company WarnerMedia.

While media/telecom executives and Wall Street investors seem willing to make big investments for a streaming-centric future, they’ll expect to see actual profits soon.

It turned out that this decision — already described as a transformative moment in the industry, and potentially the beginning of the end for theaters — was just the beginning. On December 3, Warner Bros. announced that it would be following the exact same strategy for every movie on its theatrical slate in 2021.

This may have seemed like welcome news to moviegoers eager to finally see “In the Heights” (already delayed by about a year thanks to the pandemic) or “Dune” (ditto). But while “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot seemed to embrace the news, declaring that it was time to share their movie with fans, other Warner Bros. filmmakers were less enthusiastic.

For example, “The Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan complained that Warner Bros. executives “don’t even understand what they’re losing,” and he claimed that filmmakers had gone to bed “thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.” (Nolan’s “Tenet” was released in theaters in the fall, and its disappointing box office numbers, particularly in the U.S., probably played a big role in Warner’s decision.)

And in a guest column for Variety, “Dune” director Denis Villeneuve pointed his finger at AT&T, which acquired Time Warner several years earlier. He suggested that the streaming strategy had less to do with the pandemic and more with the underwhelming launch of HBO Max over the summer.

“With HBO Max’s launch a failure thus far, AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention,” Villeneuve wrote.

Barely more than a week after the Warner Bros. announcement, Disney had a big presentation of its own, laying out ambitious streaming plans for the next few years, with 10 Marvel shows, 10 Star Wars shows, 15 Disney Animation/Disney live action/Pixar series and 15 Disney Animation/Disney live action/Pixar feature films all in the pipeline for Disney+.

Disney’s announcements weren’t greeted with the same uproar and controversy as Warner’s — it didn’t represent a wholesale shift in its theatrical strategy (the Marvel Studios film “Black Widow” is currently still scheduled for a traditional release in May, for example), and unlike WarnerMedia, its announcements didn’t blindside filmmakers and throw their compensation into question.

Still, the message to the industry and the public was quite similar: While Disney isn’t abandoning theaters outright, it clearly sees streaming as its future, with the studio willing to reboot any and every intellectual property (“Turner and Hooch”! “Swiss Family Robinson”! An “Alien” TV series!) to attract potential subscribers.

#entertainment, #media, #nbcuniversal, #netflix, #the-walt-disney-company, #warnermedia

‘Fresh Prince’ Reunion, ‘Bel Air’ Reboot: How ’90s TV Handled Race

A generation ago, sitcoms with largely Black casts were must-see TV, balancing humor and drama. Will the “Bel-Air” reboot resonate in the era of Black Lives Matter?

#a-different-world-tv-program, #black-people, #cable-television, #nbcuniversal, #race-and-ethnicity, #smith-will, #television, #the-cosby-show-tv-program, #the-fresh-prince-of-bel-air-tv-program

Comcast says Peacock has nearly 22M sign-ups

Comcast’s latest earnings report includes some official user numbers for Peacock, the new streaming service from Comcast-owned NBCUniversal.

Specifically, Comcast says that Peacock has received nearly 22 million sign-ups since it launched in July, and that it’s “exceeding our expectations on all engagement metrics in only a few months.” What’s not clear, however, is how many of those sign-ups come from paying subscribers.

NBCUniversal has emphasized the free, ad-supported tier while pitching the service. That tier includes a large library of classic shows and movies like “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Saturday Night Live.” However, if you want access to a larger library of content (particularly Peacock Originals), as well as earlier access to new NBC shows, you’ll need to pay $4.99 per month for Peacock Premium, or $9.99 per month to remove the ads.

It’s also worth noting that the service has had some major limitations on connected TVs. Peacock only launching on Roku last month and, thanks to continuing business disagreements, it’s still not available on Amazon’s Fire TV.

Netflix, meanwhile, just reported that it has 195 million paying subscribers, while Disney+ had 60.5 million subscribers as of August 3.

#comcast, #media, #nbcuniversal, #peacock

NBCU Names Susan Rovner as New Head of TV and Streaming Content

Ms. Rovner, the former president of Warner Bros. Television, joins the executive team being put together by Mark Lazarus.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #lazarus-mark, #nbcuniversal, #rovner-susan, #shell-jeff, #television

NBCUniversal’s Peacock is now live on Roku

NBCUniversal and Roku announced late last week that they’d resolved the dispute that was keeping NBCU’s streaming Peacock app off Roku’s smart TV platform. And as of this morning, Peacock has launched on Roku .

When Peacock launched in July, it was not available on either Roku or Amazon Fire TV — in Roku’s case, the reported issue was how much of Peacock’s ad inventory Roku would be able to sell.

The dispute escalated on Friday, with NBCU threatening to pull its TV Everywhere apps from Roku as well. Instead, the day ended with the companies announcing a deal.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with [NBCU parent company] Comcast that will bring Peacock to Roku customers and maintains access to NBCU’s TV Everywhere apps,” Roku said in a statement. “We look forward to offering these new options to consumers under an expanded, mutually beneficial relationship between our companies that includes adding NBC content to The Roku Channel and a meaningful partnership around advertising.”

NBCU still hasn’t announced a deal that would bring Peacock to Fire TV. And HBO Max, the other new streaming app from a major media company, still isn’t available on either Roku or Fire TV.

Peacock is available in a number of different tiers, with a free, ad-supported plan offering a select library of NBCU content, with more content (including Peacock originals like “Brave New World”) available for $4.99 a month, and then an ad-free tier that costs $9.99 per month.

“We are excited to bring Peacock and its unrivaled catalog to millions of Americans who enjoy entertainment on their favorite Roku devices,” said Maggie McLean Suniewick, Peacocck’s president of business development and partnerships, in a statement. “Roku customers are engaged streamers and we know they’ll love access to a wide range of free and paid content.”

#comcast, #media, #nbcuniversal, #peacock, #roku

Hollywood Executive Ron Meyer Leaves NBCUniversal, Citing Extortion

His storied career started with a messenger job and ended with a statesman role at one of the biggest entertainment studios.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #comcast-corporation, #meyer-ron, #nbcuniversal, #shell-jeff

NBCUniversal Pushes Out Chairman of NBC Entertainment

Paul Telegdy leaves the network ahead of a pending investigation into his workplace behavior.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #cable-television, #comcast-corporation, #nbcuniversal, #paul-telegdy, #television, #workplace-hazards-and-violations

‘30 Rock’ Reunion Review: A Few Laughs, a Lot of Blergh

The TV-biz satire spent a joking-not-joking night selling NBCUniversal TV, winking so hard that it injured itself.

#30-rock-tv-program, #baldwin-alec, #fey-tina, #krakowski-jane, #mcbrayer-jack, #morgan-tracy, #nbcuniversal, #television, #upfronts-television

Peacock is the latest streaming service to skip Roku and Amazon Fire TV

While NBCUniversal is launching its Peacock streaming service tomorrow with support for a variety of platforms (including iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Chromecast and Xbox One), two big names are missing from the list — the two largest connected TV platforms, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because WarnerMedia’s HBO Max similarly skipped both platforms. At the time, WarnerMedia simply said, “We look forward to reaching agreements with the few outstanding distribution partners left” — but nearly two months later, no agreements have been announced.

Today’s launch materials don’t mention Roku or Amazon, and an NBCUniversal spokesperson has not yet responded to my request for comment. However, a report last week on CNBC predicted the company was unlikely to reach deals with either platform before launch, and it suggested that there are different issues at play.

On Amazon Fire TV, CNBC reported that NBCUniversal does not want want Peacock to be included in Amazon Channels, where Amazon would get a cut of new subscriptions and would be the one collecting credit card information and other user data. (WarnerMedia is reportedly willing to have HBO Max included in Amazon Channels, but doesn’t want the content viewable in Amazon Prime Video.)

On Roku, the apparent issue is advertising. The smart TV platform has become increasingly focused on its ad business, so apparently the companies have not been able to agree on how much of Peacock’s ad inventory Roku can sell.

As large media companies see streaming as not just a new behavior, but also a way to get direct access to viewers’ wallets, inboxes and data, it’s shouldn’t be surprising that there’d be some friction with platforms hoping for to get the same access. In the meantime, Fire TV and Roku owners will have to wait for the companies to work out their differences.

#amazon, #entertainment, #media, #nbcuniversal, #peacock, #roku

NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock officially launches tomorrow

The next big media streaming service arrives tomorrow, as NBCUniversal launches Peacock.

The service has already been available to parent company Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex cable customers since April, but tomorrow marks the launch to a general audience, with anyone in the United States able to sign up and access Peacock on a range of devices including iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Android and Android TV devices, Chromecast, Xbox One, Vizion SmartCast TVs and LG SmartTVs.

Peacock will also launch on Sony’s PlayStation 4 on July 20 — but as with WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, there does yet not appear to be an agreement to bring the service to Amazon’s Fire TV or Roku.

Like most streaming services, Peacock will combine original programming with a library of existing content, including shows like “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Saturday Night Live,” as well as movies like “Jurassic Park,” “The Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum” and classic Universal horror.

When executives unveiled the service at an event in January, NBCUniversal Chairman Steve Burke argued that “affordability will be critical as more subscriptions are launched.” That’s why there’s a free, ad-supported tier — something that Burke said NBCUniversal still benefits from (now that Disney has taken operational control of Hulu) because it can control the consumer experience and sell its own ads.

The company says the free tier will include more than 13,000 hours of content, including older shows and movies, as well as new episodes of current shows like “This is Us” and “The Blacklist,” one week after they air. There will also be live sports including four exclusive Premier League soccer matches, coverage of the U.S. Open, an NFL Wild Card Playoff Game and eventually, events from the Tokyo and Beijing Olympics. (Peacock’s launch was supposed to coincidence with the Tokyo Olympics, until they were postponed due to the pandemic.)

The free version will also include sample episodes of Peacock Originals like “Brave New World” and the upcoming reboots of “Battlestar Galactica,” “Punky Brewster” and “Saved by the Bell,” but to get full access you’ll need to pay $4.99 per month to get Peacock Premium, or $9.99 per month to go ad free. As part of today’s announcement, NBCUniversal is also announcing launch dates for several Peacock Originals — “A.P. Bio” premieres September 3, “Departure” premieres September 17, “Five Bedrooms” premieres August 17 and “Hitmen” premieres September 3.

The premium tier includes 20,000 hours of content, with next-day access to current shows and the ability to watch new episodes of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” at 8pm Eastern, before they air on linear TV.

I’ve had a chance to try the service out for myself. On one level, the interface of any one streamer is pretty similar to the others, with the usual grid of show and movie icons. (Even Hulu recently redesigned to become a bit more like Netflix.) But Peacock offers a few different approaches to browsing, with curated channels that air in linear fashion and a Trending section with news, sports and entertainment clips. In general, there’s a bigger emphasis on linear and live TV experience, including news and sports, rather than being purely on-demand like Netflix.

Is there room for another streaming service? Although streaming viewership has boomed during the pandemic, new services have sometimes struggled, with Quibi executive Jeffrey Katzenberg blaming coronavirus for the app’s disappointing launch, while analysts criticized the HBO Max launch as “chaotic.” Plus, there’s the whole question of when production on original programming can resume.

Still, the NBCUniversal library could be a real draw. And it’s hard to argue with the price.

#entertainment, #media, #nbcuniversal, #peacock

Review: Peacock’s ‘Brave New World’ Is Neither Brave Nor New

This adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic novel, inaugurating the NBCUniversal streaming service, is generic and tame (despite the orgies).

#brave-new-world-tv-program, #ehrenreich-alden, #findlay-jessica-brown, #moore-demi, #nbcuniversal, #peacock-services, #television

NBC Starts Streaming With a TV-Style Platform, Peacock

The service will challenge Netflix with a digital version of channel-surfing and lots of what one executive calls “comfort-food TV.”

#comcast-corporation, #everybody-loves-raymond-tv-program, #nbcuniversal, #peacock-services, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #quarantines, #strauss-matt-television-executive, #television, #the-office-tv-program, #united-states, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #web-original-programming

Joy Reid Takes Nightly Anchor Slot at MSNBC

She becomes one of the few Black women to anchor a major American evening news program. The move was made by new leadership at NBC News, which runs the liberal-leaning cable network.

#am-joy-tv-program, #maddow-rachel, #matthews-chris, #msnbc, #nbc-news, #nbcuniversal, #news-and-news-media, #reid-joy-ann, #television

Ever Further Below the Decks With ‘Below Deck’

Bravo’s hit reality franchise offers a window into the world of yachts and yachties, as “Below Deck Mediterranean” grows in popularity.

#bravo, #computers-and-the-internet, #nbcuniversal, #sailboats-and-sailing, #television

’30 Rock’ Episodes Removed From Streaming Over Blackface

Tina Fey, the show’s creator, wrote a note to the services saying, “No comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness.”

#30-rock-tv-program, #apologies, #black-people, #carlock-robert, #discrimination, #fallon-jimmy, #fey-tina, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #hulu-com, #national-broadcasting-co, #nbcuniversal, #television

Record Ratings and Record Chaos on Cable News

Cable networks are facing threats, and opportunities, in a national crisis. Now, Fox is fighting back and CNBC is looking to the right. CNN is defined by Jeff Zucker, and he may run for mayor.

#cable-television, #cnbc, #cnn, #fox-news-channel, #maddow-rachel, #msnbc, #national-broadcasting-co, #nbc-news, #nbcuniversal, #news-and-news-media, #zucker-jeff

The TV Commercial, Once Advertising’s Main Event, Suffers in the Pandemic

People are watching more television these days. But companies are spending less time, effort and money on TV ads.

#advertising-and-marketing, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #kantar-media, #memorial-day, #nbcuniversal, #quarantines, #television, #upfronts-television, #viacomcbs-inc

NBC Trades Radio City for a Livestream to Give Advertisers a Taste of Fall

Well, there was a trailer for one new show: “Mr. Mayor,” a sitcom co-created by Tina Fey and starring Ted Danson.

#advertising-and-marketing, #drinkwater-carrie, #fey-tina, #nbcuniversal, #radio-city-music-hall, #television, #upfronts-television, #ventimiglia-milo-1977, #yaccarino-linda

Andrew Lack Is Out as the Head of NBC News After a Stormy Tenure

Rachel Maddow was among those at NBC who had put pressure on the news division’s leadership team.

#metoo-movement, #lack-andrew, #lauer-matt, #msnbc, #nbc-news, #nbcuniversal, #news-and-news-media, #television

NBCUniversal makes its content and ads more shoppable with a new Checkout experience

NBCUniversal is introducing a new way to incorporate commerce into the viewing and reading experience, which it calls NBCUniversal Checkout.

The new product is part of the company’s One Platform ad offering. As demonstrated for me yesterday, it allows the readers of articles and viewers of videos on NBCUniversal properties to click on a featured product, bring up the listing from a partner merchant and make the purchase.

While there are other shoppable content and video technologies out there, NBCUniversal’s executive vice president for marketing and advertising creative Josh Feldman told me that the key is that with NBCUniversal checkout, you can complete the entire transaction without actually leaving the article or video.

“This is a really unique opportunity for a native shopping experience embedded in content,” Feldman said.

NBCUniversal is launching Checkout in its Shoppable Branded Content, its ShoppableTV ads, in its editorial content (whether digital or on linear TV) and on social media.

The company is also in the process of launching its new ad-supported streaming service Peacock, but when asked about the possibiity of bringing Checkout to Peacock, Feldman said, “We’re not be able to speak to future of Peacock. Commercial innovations are a huge part of Peacock, but we’re announcing this within the traditional NBCUniversal structure.”

He also said that while Checkout has been part of the product roadmap for a while, “our business strategy behind it” has changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead to trying to make the product immediately profitable, Feldman said the goal now is to support retailers who face a tough economic environment by waiving NBCUniversal’s technology and cart fees for products purchased through Checkout.

I also brought up the broader trend of content companies trying to move into commerce. Discussing how NBCUniversal fits into that shift, Feldman said, “I think there was a misperception of what layer of the purchase funnel a big media company like NBCUniversal plays a part … We have research that shows massive effects on every single layer of that purchase funnel.”

#advertising-tech, #nbcuniversal, #tc

Ready for Another Streaming Service? NBC’s Peacock Starts Rollout

NBCUniversal is offering its long-gestating platform to some Comcast subscribers before making it widely available this summer.

#cable-television, #comcast-corporation, #nbcuniversal, #olympic-games-2020, #television, #the-office-tv-program, #web-original-programming

NBCUniversal’s Peacock launches on Comcast tomorrow

NBCUniversal’s new streaming service Peacock is launching for Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers tomorrow, April 15, at no additional cost.

Comcast says the rollout to its platforms begins tomorrow and will complete by month’s end.

This lines up with the schedule that the company announced in January, which pointed to a broader launch on July 15. NBCUniversal says that’s still happening, though the launch will no longer coincide with the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Comcast subscribers will get access to Peacock’s premium tier, which it says will include an on-demand library of more than 15,000 hours of TV and movies, including “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Yellowstone,” “Law & Order” and its various spin-offs, “Jurassic Park” and “Shrek.” It also will include early access to NBC’s late-night shows “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon and “Late Night With Seth Meyers.”

When the service launches more broadly in July (which is also when it launches on mobile), there will be a free tier with roughly half as much content. If you pay for Peacock Premium separately, it will cost $4.99 per month with ads, or $9.99 per month without ads. (Peacock’s ad load will be relatively light at launch, with no more than five minutes of ads per hour.)

Like every streaming service, Peacock will eventually feature original programming, including a reboot of “Battlestar Galactica.” The release dates for some of that original programming may be delayed, however, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down productions worldwide. But Peacock Chairman Matt Strauss told reporters today that a few of its series are on track for 2020, including the “Psych” movie, “Brave New World” and the reboots of “Punky Brewster” and “Saved by the Bell.”

Strauss added that he remains “very optimistic” about Peacock’s prospects, thanks to “a vast library of content that we know is going to resonate.” (Lest this seem like merely putting a brave face on a tough situation, it’s worth noting that Disney+ recently passed more than 50 million subscribers despite — “The Mandalorian” aside — a relatively limited slate of originals.)

“What’s postponed in 2020 will come back to us, even bigger, in 2021 — when Peacock will, arguably, really be hitting its stride,” Strauss said.

Dana Strong, president of consumer services at Comcast Cable, also noted that “viewing on every dimension of our platform is up during this period,” with a year-over-year increase of two hours per day per household, as well as a 50% increase in video-on-demand viewing.

Strauss also downplayed COVID-19’s impact on advertising, noting that Peacock reached the milestone of 10 advertising sponsors at launch, and characterized its deals as being more focused on the “long-term.”

And while Comcast (as NBCUniversal’s parent company) makes sense as the initial cable partner for Peacock, he said, “We see an opportunity to do similar bundling deals with other distributors.”

#comcast, #entertainment, #media, #nbcuniversal, #peacock, #streaming-service, #tc