NBCU reportedly ramping up All Access-like SVOD service

Doctors advise viewers with diabetes and other blood sugar issues not to binge on NBC's ultrasappy hit "This Is Us" in high doses. Image: NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal is reportedly developing an SVOD service that will include top shows from the NBC Broadcast Network, as well as leading NBCU cable outlets like USA, Bravo and Syfy.

According to Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, NBCU is looking to launch the platform in the next 12 to 18 months.

Comcast’s NBCU unit does operate specialty SVOD platforms, such as the comedy-focused Seeso. And it is a partner in Hulu, the third biggest subscription video on demand platform behind Netflix and Amazon.

RELATED: Comcast to roll out skinny ‘Stream’ service across footprint in Q3

But it doesn’t yet have a platform dedicated to top-rated NBC shows, as CBS Corp. does with All Access, or HBO with HBO Now. All Access has reportedly eclipsed 1.5 million subscribers, while HBO Now has a reported 2 million.

Comcast reps didn’t immediately respond to FierceCable’s inquiry for comment. According to Bloomberg, Comcast is still determining the specifics of the platform—for example, whether it will have a livestreaming component. 

And as the news service also noted, the 12- to 18-month timeline would fit the timing of rules tied to Comcast’s purchase of NBCU that restrict it from launching services based only on its own content. Those rules expire in September 2018.

Report of the NBCU product comes as Comcast looks for ways to address broadly recognized and profound changes in the way viewers watch TV. On the distribution side, Comcast is prepping the wide launch of its virtual video service, formerly called “Stream” but now labeled Xfinity Instant TV, for the third quarter.

And through NBCU, Comcast is charged with finding a way to more efficiently exploit assets like NBC, which now drives Hulu with hit shows like "This Is Us." Sharing revenue with Hulu partners 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney and Time Warner was OK with NBCU six years ago, when Comcast bought the company, and NBCU was the last-place network without any hits. 

Now that shows like "The Blacklist" have driven NBCU to finish first among broadcasters for two straight seasons in the Nielsen ratings, Comcast would like to more directly profit from the migration to IP consumption.

This report also comes as media conglomerates blink their eyes once again at disbelief in regard to Netflix’s growth. With Netflix enjoying a market capitalization almost as big as Time Warner Inc., conglomerates are determined to find a way to stream their shows without making deals in Los Gatos, California.

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