NBC Boss ‘Skeptical’ of Streaming

Jul 28, 2017  •  Post A Comment

The head honcho at NBCUniversal appears to be part of an increasingly exclusive group of industry movers and shakers who aren’t yet sold on streaming video.

Steve Burke, NBCUniversal CEO, commented on the OTT business during Comcast’s earnings call Thursday, pointing out the business’s “relatively slow start” and expressing skepticism that it will turn into a significant profit generator.

Fierce Cable notes that Burke did say the OTT services that have launched so far are doing about as well as NBC expected, but he added that they aren’t “material to our business.”

The report quotes Burke saying of the OTT services: “We have deals in place with all of them. They’re actually very favorable. So from an NBCUniversal point of view, if someone goes to an over-the-top provider, it’s actually slightly better. But it’s a very tough business. And as we’ve said before, we’re skeptical that it’s going to be a very large business or profitable business for the people that are in it. And they’re off to a relatively slow start.”

The report notes that NBC is a part owner of Hulu and has deals in place with DirecTV Now, Sling TV, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue and FuboTV, along with Hulu.

“NBC also has a deal with the NBC Television Affiliates Board aimed at getting local TV broadcasters to opt in to carriage agreements with new OTT streaming services and for TV Everywhere distribution rights,” Fierce Cable adds.


  1. He may not be sold, but the next generation is sold. The numbers for traditional tv distribution are going down. Just as rabbit ears and over-the-air known by most baby boomers, has mostly disappeared, traditional cable will also disappear over the next generation.

    • Count me dubious about that “… rabbit ears and over-the-air known by most baby boomers, has mostly disappeared…” because there are no signs of it happening in the area I live in about 40 miles north of Phoenix. When I moved here about a generation ago, there were only 7 OTA broadcast channels. There are now over 60+ channels and about half of those have popped up in the last five years.

      Cable companies were able to convince people in most communities that cable was not only able to bring them services (HBO, etc.) they couldn’t get any other way, but in addition that it was also the best way to receive local channels (mainly because the FCC mandated that cable providers had to carry them). Customers didn’t need an antenna since cable provided a clear signal without interference from bad weather or atmospheric conditions. And those local channels didn’t cost them extra.

      Over time most people got rid of their antennas. Probably because weather took it’s toll on them after a few years and people didn’t feel the need to replace them and because even with basic cable they got local channels (which in many places was little more than local channels).

      People simply became used to paying to watch local TV channels… even though it was totally unnecessary. For me cable was never an issue because it hasn’t been available where I live now and not likely to be in the foreseeable future. We did have satellite for several years.

      Then came the digital switch over. Which occurred just about a year before we dropped satellite, due to the expense, and the fact the digital OTA image was way better than what we got thru satellite. Haven’t looked back.

      Fwiw, although family members have been using Neflix, Hulu, et al, thru our ISP for several years, I’ve watched maybe three or four shows. Can’t finding anything I want to watch thru them.

      So streaming… what’s that?

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)