Comcast remains cagey on direct-to-consumer streaming product plans

Comcast/NBCUniversal says some sort of direct-to-consumer product launch is likely in its future. (Comcast)

Fellow media conglomerates AT&T and Disney are slowly revealing plans for their direct-to-consumer streaming products launching in 2019. But Comcast has yet to join the fray.

Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh spoke during a UBS investor conference and declined to provide much detail into any similar plans for Comcast.

He said that Comcast still feels good about its traditional broadcast and cable networks business that has performed well enough on the strength of scripted programming and high-profile live events like the Super Bowl and World Cup.

Cavanagh said that content licensing is a growth area on the streaming side for Comcast thanks to companies like Hulu, Netflix and YouTube TV. But he said that some shows will continue to work best on traditional platforms and some will work best on subscription and ad-supported streaming platforms.

“When it comes to DTC we’re working on our plans there. We want to be where consumers are and we want to make sure that the content we create is best monetized for us,” Cavanagh said.

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He said that at some point Comcast/NBCUniversal will launch some form of direct-to-consumer product. But Cavanagh clarified that Comcast won’t try to recreate what Netflix has done with its platform.

“We think our model will look like something that takes advantage of all that we’re good at,” Cavanagh said.

Of course, Comcast already does have a significant streaming product play with Hulu, of which it owns 30%. Cavanagh was pressed about Comcast’s plans for Hulu considering Disney will soon own 60% of Hulu through its Fox deal, and AT&T has shown willingness to sell its 10% stake in Hulu.

Cavanagh declined to offer any specifics but said that Comcast still has a healthy relationship with Hulu and that much of NBCU’s content finds a good audience on Hulu’s platform.