SXSW: NBC News President Noah Oppenheim Talks New Streaming Service, Megyn Kelly Exit

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock (6279248be) Noah Oppenheim 'Jackie' film premiere, New York Film Festival, USA - 13 Oct 2016
Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

NBC News President Noah Oppenheim says the network is busy readying its upcoming streaming service, which will soon launch with eight hours of programming.

“It will be something you can access on Apple TV or Roku or any of those other boxes. We are going to launch with eight hours of programming, including live updates at the top of every hour, and when breaking news mandates, we’ll go up live as well,” Oppenheim told attendees Sunday during an event at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas.

The ad-supported news service called NBC News Now will transmit over broadband and is free to everyone.

“So, for folks who don’t have a traditional cable subscription it will be a great way to access the reporting of NBC News,” he said.

Asked how the service will work, he explained: “You go into the NBC News app, there will be a tap, presumably or the link will say NBC News Now and you won’t need to authenticate… We will be drawing from the reporting that takes place across all the other NBC News properties.”

The service will include sports and entertainment, in addition to hard news.

“We will actually be reaching into other corners of NBCUniversal, E! News, sports, you name it, for some of that content. People’s consumption habits are changing rapidly and it’s not limited to just young people,” Oppenheim remarked at the discussion.

Joined by NBC News investigative journalists Carol Lee and Ken Dilanian, he said the network has been beefing up its reporter ranks.

“We have doubled the size of the investigative unit in the last two years and increased it from about 20 people to 40 journalists, who spend all day, every day, simply trying to dig up stories and enterprise stories,” he noted.

The NBC News chief then addressed something he’d probably like to forget — Megyn Kelly’s messy exit from the network and the demise of her show, Megyn Kelly Today.

“I don’t think I would get much done if I spent any time thinking about how I would ‘re-write history,'” he said. “She’s obviously a talented journalist and a talented person. We learned a lot from the experiment of having put her at 9 a.m.”

Oppenheim admitted Kelly was better suited for primetime than daytime TV.

“She did some great work on a Sunday night magazine show that we were proud of. But, at the end of the day, in this business, sometimes you take big swings and they work out, and sometimes they don’t. But, the important thing is to learn whatever lesson you can and keep moving forward,” he said.

Kelly officially left NBC News in January amid low ratings and widespread anger over comments she made in October about blackface Halloween costumes.

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