NBCUniversal CEO hints at 2019 OTT plans in note to employees

Comcast Center headquarters in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast
Comcast's NBCUniversal could soon follow Disney and WarnerMedia into the streaming world. (Comcast)

Odds are, with competitors like Disney and WarnerMedia planning streaming services for 2019, NBCUniversal will respond in kind. But concrete plans have yet to materialize.

For now, at least, there are more hints toward NBCU’s plans for next year. In a holiday note for employees—intercepted by Bloomberg—NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke dropped a rhyme about the Comcast division announcing streaming product plans.

“While you all go off to relax, swim or ski,” Burke wrote. “Maybe, just maybe, next year we will announce our plan for OTT.”


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

Burke’s letter validates comments made by Comcast Chief Financial Officer Mike Cavanagh earlier this month at a UBS investor conference.

“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.

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.

WarnerMedia has also said it’s not looking to create a direct Netflix competitor, according to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.

“We’re not going to have to spend another $11 billion to rival Netflix. We think we have enough IP and enough capability that we can put a product together that will be very attractive,” Stephenson said at an investor conference in December.

He said the first layer of the service will look a lot like the movie library available today on HBO. The second layer will include HBO’s scripted original series like “Game of Thrones.” Then the third layer will take advantage of the Warner Bros. IP library including movies and scripted series.

Disney, in the meantime, has been prepping original series and films for its service, which will also house movies from Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and Disney Studios.

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