People/Biz

NBCUniversal announces streaming service, shakes up leadership structure

NBCUniversal has released new details about its upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service and has rejigged its leadership roles accordingly. The as-yet unnamed streaming service will provide NBCUniversal pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. ...
January 14, 2019

NBCUniversal has released new details about its upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service and has rejigged its leadership roles accordingly.

The as-yet unnamed streaming service will provide NBCUniversal pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. and internationally access to free content, supported by advertising revenue. Ad-free and stand-alone versions will also be available for a fee. The streaming service will launch in 2020.

The service will be led by Bonnie Hammer (pictured), who has been promoted to chairman of direct-to-consumer and digital enterprises for NBCUniversal. Hammer’s team will include executives from Sky’s OTT offering, NOW TV, and throughout NBCUniversal. Her consolidated digital group will also include NBCUniversal’s Digital Enterprises group, led by Maggie Suniewick.

Hammer previously served as chairman of NBCUniversal cable entertainment and cable studios, where she had executive oversight of USA Network, Syfy, Bravo, Oxygen, E! Entertainment and Universal Kids, as well as UCP and Wilshire Studios.

The NBCUniversal leadership team is simultaneously undergoing reorganization.

Mark Lazarus has been appointed chairman of NBCUniversal broadcast, cable, sports and news. He will oversee most of the company’s East Coast-based content businesses, including the cable entertainment portfolio, NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC. He will continue to oversee the NBC Sports Group, NBCUniversal-owned television stations and NBC affiliate relations.

Meanwhile, Jeff Shell will step into the role of chairman of NBCUniversal film and entertainment. He was previously chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. Shell will continue to oversee film and will also now be responsible for NBCUniversal’s international division and Telemundo.

Finally, Donna Langley has been promoted to sole chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, and has added global theatrical distribution and home entertainment to her purview. Langley has been chairman of Universal Pictures since 2013, and has overseen all aspects of the studio’s production and marketing operations worldwide, including Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation.

Hammer, Lazarus and Shell will report directly to Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal. Langley will continue to report to Shell.

“NBCUniversal has some of the world’s most valuable intellectual property and top talent, both in front of and behind the camera,” said Burke in a statement. “Many of the most-watched shows on today’s popular streaming platforms come from NBCUniversal. Our new service will be different than those presently in the market and it will be built on the company’s strengths, with NBCUniversal’s great content and the technology expertise, broad scale and the wide distribution of Comcast Cable and Sky.

“People are watching premium content more than ever, but they want more flexibility and value. NBCUniversal is perfectly positioned to offer a variety of choices, due to our deep relationships with advertisers and distribution partners, as well as our data-targeting capabilities. Advertising continues to be a major part of the entertainment ecosystem and we believe that a streaming service, with limited and personalized ads, will provide a great consumer experience.”

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