Is Comcast’s NBCUniversal gearing up to introduce a nationwide direct-to-consumer streaming service similar to CBS All Access but with shows from NBCUniversal networks including NBC, Bravo, USA and Syfy?
Bloomberg says today that it is, citing “people familiar with the matter.” Comcast and NBCU declined comment.
But one highly placed source says it’s “just speculation” and that there’s nothing in the works.
Bloomberg says the company hasn’t determined whether it will include a live feed for NBC or sports.
It adds that a service probably would not be launched for more than a year: To win government approval for its acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011, Comcast agreed to several conditions limiting its ability to promote its content. Those restriction run until September 2018.
Programmers are eager to secure footholds in the fast-growing direct-to-consumer business. NBCU already has a $3.99-a-month comedy service, Seeso, and is a co-owner of Hulu with Disney, Fox and Time Warner.
Bloomberg says that Comcast’s deals with network owners allow it to offer their programming nationwide.
Disney plans to launch an ESPN-branded service for niche sports later this year.