May 29, 2019 - Economy

NBC News launches streaming service to lure young viewers

Photo: NBC News

NBC News launched "NBC News NOW" on Wednesday, a streaming service with 8 hours of live programming daily that's designed to capture the attention of younger generations of news consumers.

Why it matters: It's the latest TV network to dive into the news streaming wars. CBS, ABC and CNN have all debuted streaming news products in recent years.

Details: The service will feature video, reporting and segments from the broader NBCUniversal and NBC News teams. It will include short-form videos that feature breaking news, analysis, reporting and newsmaker interviews around the world.

  • "The content is original and produced specifically for this audience," says Rashida Jones, SVP of specials for NBC News Group and the executive overseeing the launch of NBC News NOW.
  • The service will launch with 8 hours of daily, continuous programming from 3 pm to 11 pm on weekdays, but eventually the network hopes to make it a 24/7 streaming news channel. Jones says NBC chose to start later in the day because research showed that most consumers watched news video segments in the evening.
  • NOW is available to stream on, the NBC News mobile app and on the NBC News app on OTT devices, including Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. It isn't being licensed to Pay-TV providers as a standalone OTT channel yet, although sources say this could be a possibility in the future.

Between the lines: Like most other news streaming services, NBC News NOW will be fully ad supported and will have no subscription offering. NBCUniversal's sales teams will sell advertising for NBC News NOW. There are 4 ads per hour at around 2 minutes each, according to a company spokesperson. Citi is a presenting sponsor.

Be smart: NBC News may be late to the streaming news game, but it is ahead of its rivals when it comes to creating millennial-first news products.

  • Specifically, its Snapchat show "Stay Tuned" reaches millions of millennials monthly, and it is often cited by Snap as a success story of how a news company can grow its audience using its platform.

The bottom line: Jones acknowledges that it was not first to the marketplace, but says that the amount of original programming NBC News NOW will offer will be an attractive offering for younger audiences.

  • CBS launched CBSN, its 24/7 streaming news channel, in 2014. ABC launched ABC News Live in 2018, which has less original programming than CBS. CNN launched CNN Go in 2014, which mostly makes its live programming accessible. CNN launched Great Big Story a year later, which features cinematic videos.
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