NBC to Stream Live on Digital, but Don’t Celebrate Just Yet

/ Dec 16, 2014


NBC is launching a live stream to make its broadcast programming available wherever audiences are.

But there’s a catch: Viewers will need to first verify that they are paying TV subscribers before they can access any of NBC’s live content. With that, the move falls under the TV industry’s ongoing “TV Everywhere” initiative, designed to adapt to changes in how people are watching TV, while still maintaining the legacy TV business.

Another catch: Initially, the authenticated stream will be available in 10 local markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Forth Worth, and the San Francisco Bay Area. NBCUniversal said it’s working with its TV affiliates to bring other local markets on board.

In recent months, the TV industry has finally embraced digital as a necessary part of distribution. Notably, HBO announced plans to launch a standalone video service in 2015 that wouldn’t require a cable or satellite subscription; while CBS went ahead and launched the All Access SVOD service to do just that.

NBC’s attempt is the latest in this trend, even if it’s still sticking to the authenticated model. For now, NBC’s live stream will be available online, with plans to expand the service to mobile platforms next year.

In a statement, NBCUniversal said it’s “committed to supporting the TV Everywhere ecosystem.” And so, it’s also rolling out its TV Everywhere apps across more connected-TV and mobile platforms. Apps for Bravo and Telemundo, for instance, just launched for the first time on Xbox One.

To drive awareness for these apps among viewers who want to watch their favorite NBCU shows on the go, the company is also debuting a new marketing campaign called “Watch TV without the TV.” Spanning TV, digital, and out-of-home placements, these “show-driven” ads point viewers to the apps for their favorite NBCU networks. The campaign will run from December 26 to January 1, and will be supported by all of the networks in the NBCU portfolio.

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