Comcast CEO Says NBCUniversal Streaming Service Won't Go "Cold Turkey" and Pull Content Off Other Platforms Yet

Brian Roberts
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Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts told an investors conference the studio wouldn't aggressively pull back content for its own ad-supported streaming service.

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts on Tuesday said NBCUniversal won't follow Disney and aggressively pull back programming from third-party streamers as it gets set to launch its own free, direct-to-consumer streaming service.

"We're very much focused on not, like others have, just going cold turkey and taking it (content) off all the other platforms," Roberts told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco during a session that was webcast.

The Comcast boss, while insisting his stance on supplying third-party streamers could always change, argued NBCUniversal will continue to sell product across multiple platforms, including to Netflix, which has licensed The Office and Friends, until it can figure out how best to launch its upcoming ad-supported streamer.

"...Our thinking going in is we have an awful lot of content. And lots of it will monetize best with this advertising platform. And other (content) will be best on third-party platforms," he explained. "We think the world will still want to sell to HBO, to pay television and basic cable and broadcast television and streaming is a new part of that. And we should be in all parts of the eco-system," Roberts added.

And as Comcast and NBCUniversal figure out out how to roll out a stand-alone OTT brand, expected to be available for download in 2020, Roberts hinted at a possible launch delay. When asked about the planned 2020 rollout, Roberts was noncommittal.

"We'll refine as we go, but I think we're all in to create it, and to not be like Netflix or others that are out there. They've done a great job doing what they're doing. What can we do that consumers like and is different and creates value for our shareholders. We're trying to figure that out, and it will launch when it's ready," he told the Morgan Stanley conference.