NBC Universal Joins Apple, Walmart in the Race to Join the Streaming Wars

A new foe has appeared.

The golden age of cord-cutting keeps getting more golden: In addition to streaming services from giants like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, another entertainment mainstay announced plans on Monday to introduce a new streaming service of their own. That would join a number of other projects from major incumbents like Disney and Apple that are already in the works.

NBCUniversal is the latest entertainment conglomerate to announce it would be stepping into the ring. They are also planning on rolling out an ad-supported version of the platform which will be free for NBC TV, Comcast, and Sky subscribers in the United States and certain international markets.

It sounds like the service will look a bit like YouTube Premium, if you want the ads to stop you’ll have to pay up. For $12.99 per month, interested users will be able to skip the commercials on shows like 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Parks and Recreation, and a plethora of other series.

It’s unclear if this service will include shows that originally aired on NBC but are now owned by other media companies, like Friends. NBC’s statement says it will continue distributing content broadly, but it seems worth noting that Netflix paid some $100 million to Warner Brothers for the rights to continue airing Friends last December. That price tag wouldn’t seem so high in a world where all the networks had streaming sites of their own.

NBC joins the battle!

Danny Paez

“Consistent with the company’s long-standing strategy to distribute its content broadly,” states a company press release, “NBCUniversal will continue to license content to other studios and platforms, while retaining rights to certain titles for its new service.”

One of Many Newcomers

NBC is joins a catalog of companies that are expected to jump start their own streaming platform and for good reason. The number of people with no cable service is expected to grow to 33 million, while the the number of streaming subscribers is predicted to ballon to 170.1 million in 2018, according to an eMarketer report.

Disney, DC Entertainment, WarnerMedia, Walmart, and even Apple are all readying new streaming services to jump on an exploding market. Global revenue for over-the-top (OTT) TV and movie services have been forecast to reach $129 billion according to data from Digital TV Research.

There may be room for more than a few big players. After all, a sizable number of customers that subscribe to, say, Netflix, also pay for other platforms. So expect the ever-growing roster of OTT streaming to continue growing for the time being.

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