NBC News hints at launching streaming service, bashes Facebook

NBC News’ inclination toward a streaming product launch makes sense in light of similar launches from rivals CBS News and Fox News. (Ben Munson)

As competitors CBS News and Fox News make headway in the direct-to-consumer market, NBC News revealed it too is contemplating a streaming service.

NBC News Chairman Andy Lack told reporters at NBC’s New York offices that the company is planning an NBC News streaming service for launch later this year. He described it as a means of attracting a younger audience, which is an issue for many programmers as viewers move away from traditional television.

According to Reuters, NBC has not yet decided whether the service would be subscription-based or free with ads.

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NBC News’ inclination toward a streaming product launch makes sense in light of similar launches from rivals CBS News and Fox News.

CBS’s ad-supported CBSN launched in 2014 and has been growing, increasing its streams by 38% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2017. The service provides a mix of CBS News simulcasts, original programming, news updates and catch-up viewing of CBS programs like “60 Minutes” and “CBS Evening News.” It’s ad-supported and works across web as well as Android, iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and multiple game consoles. CBSN is also available as part of CBS’s subscription streaming service, All Access.

More recently, Fox News revealed plans to launch Fox Nation, a subscription streaming service coming later this year. The service will include live exclusive daily streaming content and long-form programming along with access to exclusive events and 20-plus years of archival Fox News programming.

While NBC News plots its answer to these competing services, the company has been busy with a number of other digital initiatives. Last year, NBC News launched “Stay Tuned,” a twice daily news program on Snapchat. That show is now up to 5 million subscribers and could rack up as many as 38 million unique visitors in March.

While NBC has been active on Snapchat, it’s dropped out of sharing NBC News content on Facebook, which Lack said is not a friendly environment for news outlets.

“Facebook doesn’t have value for publishers,” said Lack, according to Reuters.

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