NBCUniversal is set to challenge Apple TV+ and Netflix in 2020

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The Office
NBCUniversal will be the only place to stream The Office starting in 2021.
Photo: NBC Universal

Apple TV+ will be getting some fresh competition in the streaming wars courtesy of Comcast come April of next year.

Comcast revealed the launch date of its upcoming NBCUniversal streaming service during its latest earnings call. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke also said that the service is built on a platform similar to Sky’s Now TV in the UK.

The upcoming NBCUniversal streaming service will join a crowded field. Apple TV+, Disney+ and Warner Bros’ HBO Max service are all set to launch by the end of 2019, joining Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sling TV, DirecTV Now and many others. Needless to say, there are going to be a few losers.

NBCUniversal’s readies for battle

Over 500 people are working on the NBCUniversal streaming platform. Sky, which is mostly owned by Comcast, plans to double its amount of original content. Most of it will emphasis European material but some of it could make its way to the U.S.

“We believe we have a very innovative way of coming to the market that is very different than anything else and has very attractive financial aspects,” CEO Steve Burke said during the call.

One of the biggest attractions for NBCUniversal might be The Office. NBCU recently snagged rights to the show back from Netflix starting in 2021. Nielson research shows that the show currently accounts for about 5% of all Netflix views. Still, NBCU will need a lot of original content too to attract more than just some Michael Scott fans.

“We are spending money on originals,” Burke said. “I would expect the vast majority of consumption, in the beginning, would be acquired programs.”

An exact launch date hasn’t been revealed but we’ll certainly hear more about it in the lead up to April 2020. The company says the service will be advertising-supported and come for free with a typical cable subscription and be available to non-cable subscribers for a monthly fee.