Comcast has now provided an update on the release schedule for the new NBCUniversal streaming service.
The update came as part of the company's second quarter earnings release and follows on from the vaguer arrival times that had been disclosed in the past.
Previously, it had been confirmed the service would launch at some point in 2020. By May of this year that time-frame had been updated to mid-2020. Now it seems Comcast is more confident the service is on track, if not ahead of schedule, as Comcast now states the service will arrive in April of next year. That update did come with a caveat due to Comcast referring to "April" as "the goal," suggesting the launch month is not completely set in stone.
Besides the arrival month, Comcast did not provide much in the way of new information on the service and instead reiterated many of the points that had been made public before. Comcast says it will confirm more intimate details of the service closer to the launch.
What is known at the moment is the service will look to provide consumers with a direct way to access NBCU content. The service itself will be priced around $12 per month.
Those who already have an active subscription to NBCU entities through a pay-TV operator will also be able to access the service at no additional cost. The monthly price is simply for those who want to access the content without the need of a traditional TV subscription.
It is not too surprising to see Comcast push forward the arrival time from mid-2020 to April. Although this is only slightly pushed forward, even releasing in April will put the service at a disadvantage due to the number of services that are already available, as well as those that are set to launch between now and then.
For example, both Disney and WarnerMedia are expected to launch extremely high profile direct-to-consumer streaming services before April of next year. These will arrive as Disney+ and HBO Max, respectively, and both are expected to aggressively fight for what already seems to be a finite subscription market pie. Due to the high level of competition the service will face on arrival, anything Comcast and NBCU can do to speed up the launch date will likely be of some benefit.
Regardless of when the service does launch, Comcast believes it will be able to successfully carve out its position within the market and points to the housing of exclusive content such as "The Office," as well as its current subscriber base as the reasons why.
However, NBCU is unlikely to be able to rely too heavily on its own content in the opening stages due to current deals it has with others. While Comcast has been very vocal on the importance of the exclusivity of "The Office" this is a show that will remain available via Netflix throughout 2020. Similarly, Comcast already has deals in place with Hulu for a number of NBC shows.
When pushed on the topic during the earnings call, there were strong indications made that the service will initially be bulked out with acquired content, as well UK and European content pulled from Sky.