Streaming in the Mix for New Mega Billion Dollar NBA TV Rights Deals

NBCUniversal is reportedly looking to pay $2.5 billion a year for a share of the National Basketball Association’s new television rights deal beginning for the 2025-26 season. The offer, which is more than twice what Warner Bros. Discovery currently pays the NBA annually broadcasting games on TNT (and the Max platform), would include streaming games on the Peacock platform. NBC last broadcast NBA games in 2002.

For the NBA, which is looking to expand its digital footprint nationwide and internationally across a variety of media distribution partners, streaming video is a key component in the negotiations that will split rights among three or more license packages.

Disney’s ESPN/ABC brands are expected to pay about $2.6 billion a year for its NBA rights, which would include the ESPN+ streaming platform, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the aforementioned rights talks. ESPN currently pays the NBA about $1.5 billion annually.

Perhaps trumping all of those deals is a pending agreement between the NBA and Amazon, which reportedly would see games exclusively streamed on Prime Video globally over the next decade similar to the streamer’s NFL pact for “Thursday Night Football.” If the deal comes to fruition, it would mark the first time NBA games are exclusively distributed on a streaming service.

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“The NBA has made it clear that it wanted to define itself for the next frontier of viewing with streaming at the forefront,” wrote The Atlantic.

NBCUniversal Launching ‘Olympic Zone’ on Roku Platform

NBCUniversal and Roku April 30 revealed the upcoming launch of the NBC Olympic Zone on the Roku platform, aimed at helping streamers access and explore Peacock’s upcoming coverage of the Paris Olympics 2024 this summer.

The Zone will help Roku users navigate more than 5,000 hours of live events and all NBC programming on Peacock, browse through curated content rows of live and upcoming programming, discover events by sport type, and click through event recaps, among other activities. The Zone will also feature a dedicated replay row, clips, and highlight reels that take users directly to Peacock’s immersive viewing experience.

“Creating [these] partnerships…has proven to provide deeper engagement,” Matt Schnaars, president of NBCUniversal Content Distribution, said in a statement.

The NBC Olympic Zone on Roku will help streamers find and stream the NBC primetime show and individual sports, highlights and replays; stay up to date with the medal standings of countries competing; watch pre-Olympics coverage, including recaps, highlights and U.S. Olympic Trials; and engage with athlete profiles and Olympic-related content.

“This is a unique, exciting opportunity for us, streamers, and sponsors looking to align their brands with this global powerhouse sports moment,” Tedd Cittadine, VP of content partnerships at Roku, said in a statement.

NBCUniversal previously announced that the NBC broadcast network and Peacock will be the company’s primary platforms for its coverage of the Olympic Games Paris 2024, scheduled for July 26-Aug. 11.

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NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games through 2032, which are also scheduled for Milan Cortina (2026), Los Angeles (2028), and Brisbane (2032). The host city for the 2030 Olympic Winter Games has not yet been chosen.

Google Touts Studio Partnerships at New York NewFronts

Google execs at a presentation at the NewFronts in New York touted partnerships with such media companies as Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBCUniversal and Paramount Global utilizing its Disney & Video 360 advertising tool.

Google’s Kristin O’Hara, VP of agency, platforms and client solutions, announced that the tech company is one of the first partners to directly integrate with the Disney Real-Time Ad Exchange (DRAX).

“This is going to allow you to reach relevant audiences across the entire Disney portfolio at more meaningful moments with increased speed, accuracy and flexibility,” she said.

With a new tool expansion, she added, “You’re soon going to be able to select whatever inventory you want across Disney’s portfolio as well as YouTube guaranteed and non-guaranteed, all on DV360.”

She also touted Google’s Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation (PAIR) “identity solution” giving advertisers and publishers “a new way to power campaigns using first-party data.” It is live with NBCUniversal and is coming soon to Disney through DRAX, she said.

Google and the IAB Tech Lab are partnering on an effort to open-source PAIR to the industry so “our industry as a whole can adopt privacy-forward solutions that are going to benefit everyone,” she said.

“This is a win for the industry, because we believe the future of privacy will be built in partnership,” she said.

Paramount’s Pete Chelala, VP of programmatic advertising sales, and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Jill Steinhauser, SVP of ad sales and revenue operations, joined O’Hara onstage.

“Behaviors are changing, patterns are changing, measurement is changing but what hasn’t changed is just the fundamentals of content,” Chelala said. “It’s just gotta be good.”

“It all goes back to the content,” Steinhauser said.

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Sean Downey, president of the Americas and global partners for Google, noted that streaming has become synonymous with TV.

“We’ve been seeing a major shift in how people watch what they love,” he said. “That means how advertisers connect with streaming audiences has also changed and in 2024 it’s reaching a tipping point. The explosion of streaming has redefined what people even mean when they say they are going to watch TV.”

“As audiences have fragmented so has your ability to reach them,” he noted, at the event highlighting Google’s ad solutions.

Mike Cavanagh: Peacock Streaming a Mirror Image of NBCUniversal’s Strength

The Peacock subscription streaming service added more U.S. subscribers (3 million) than Netflix (2.53 million) in the first quarter (ended March 31), but NBCUniversal’s branded SVOD ended the fiscal period with 34 million subscribers — just 40% of Netflix’s 82.6 million North American tally.

Regardless, Comcast president Mike Cavanagh, speaking on the April 25 fiscal website, said the media giant remained firm in its support of Peacock three-and-a-half years after its launch.

Comcast president Mike Cavanagh

“We are at a place now where we really are seeing traction in our approach to providing a service for consumers that is a combination of both entertainment and sports and how those two go together,” Cavanagh said. “[It’s] very much a mirror image of what we see as our strength at NBC Universal itself.”

Cavanagh said the introduction of live sports on Peacock has paid dividends, with the Jan. 13 NFL Wild Card playoff game resulting in the largest-ever single-day U.S. streaming audience.

The executive said the game added a “tremendous number” of Peacock subscribers, with post-game subscriber retention ahead of management expectations.

“The power of sports to bring audiences together … is obviously great, and we’ll stay committed because of our strength in sports,” Cavanagh said.

Outside sports, Peacock set viewing records across all parts of the platform’s non-sports portfolio, led by the Q1 launch of the streamer’s biggest original “Ted,” followed by reality show “The Traders.”

“Both of those were in the Nielsen top 10 streaming in the earlier part of the year,” Cavanagh said.

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Peacock also saw the streaming debuts for the Oscar winners Oppenheimer and The Holdovers, with global theatrical box office polesitter Kung Fu Panda 4 set to join the streamer in the coming quarters. The streamer will also live-stream much of the Paris Summer Olympics, followed by the NFL, Big 10 college football, and the platform’s exclusive NFL regular season game in São Paulo, Brazil, along with Fall Guy, Twisters, and Despicable Me 4, among other content.

“We feel great about what we’re doing and the progress we’re making, and it’s very consistent with … what makes us great at NBC Universal — taking our existing strengths and assets into a digital future,” Cavanagh said.

Peacock Added 3 Million Q1 Subs to Top 34 Million, Operating Loss Declines to $639 Million

NBCUniversal’s subscription streaming video service Peacock added 3 million subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31) to end the fiscal period with 34 million subscribers — up 55% from 21.9 million subs in the first quarter of 2023.

The streamer upped quarterly revenue 54% to $1.1 billion, from $714.2 million, while Peacock’s pre-tax operating loss narrowed to $639 million from an operating loss of $704 million in the prior year period, and on a sequential quarterly basis.

By comparison, SVOD industry leader Netflix added 9.3 million Q1 subscribers worldwide (2.53 million in North America), with profit of $2.3 billion on revenue of $9.4 billion.

As previously reported, Peacock’s exclusive NFL Wild Card Game on Jan. 13 was the biggest live-streamed event in U.S. history, driving internet usage to a single day U.S. record. The game set a record as the largest internet event ever, consuming 30% of internet traffic during the game.

“Peacock remains one of the fastest growing domestic streamers with impressive acquisition, retention and engagement trends,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.

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Imax Screening Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony on July 26

The NBC television network will extend its live coverage of the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony to 150 Imax locations nationwide on July 26 — the first time the quadrennial sporting event will be presented live in movie theaters.

The opening ceremony will be the first ever held outside a stadium, as organizers are turning one of the world’s most famous waterways, the River Seine, into the world’s biggest theatrical stage. Instead of walking into a stadium, a four-mile-long flotilla of nearly 100 boats will carry thousands of athletes from more than 200 countries past spectators seated on the banks of the Seine.

The river parade will follow the course of the Seine past the sites of Paris, from Austerlitz Bridge, beside the Jardin des Plantes, crossing through central Paris and finishing in front of the Trocadéro, where the final elements of the show and ceremony will take place.

Last week, it was announced that Emmy Award-winning talk show host and Grammy Award-winning artist Kelly Clarkson and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning will join two-time Sports Emmy Award-winner and NBC Olympics primetime host Mike Tirico to host the opening ceremony.

On March 29, an NBCUniversal promotional trailer for its coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics will begin to run in Imax theatres nationwide. Tickets will be available for purchase at local Imax locations and on Fandango this summer.

Paris is where the modern Olympic Games were conceived 130 years ago. This will be the third time Paris has hosted the Olympics (1900 and 1924), tying London for the most as a Summer Games host. Los Angeles (1932, 1984) will tie those two cities when it hosts the first Summer Games in the U.S. in 32 years in 2028.

NBCUniversal previously announced that the NBC broadcast network and streaming service Peacock will be the company’s primary platforms for its coverage of the Olympic Games Paris 2024, scheduled for July 26-Aug. 11, 2024.

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NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games through 2032, which are scheduled for Paris (2024), Milan Cortina (2026), Los Angeles (2028) and Brisbane (2032). The host city for the 2030 Olympic Winter Games has not yet been chosen.

Peacock Unveils Paris Summer Olympics Streaming Strategy

Peacock March 20 announced the live-streaming schedule for this summer’s Paris Olympics, July 26 to Aug. 11, which aims to introduce industry-first interactive features that will help streamers navigate more than 5,000 hours of live coverage throughout the quadrennial global sports event, including all 329 medal events.
 
The streamer’s Olympics hub will feature curated videos of live and upcoming events, dedicated in-depth hubs for nearly 40 sports, medal standings and an interactive schedule. Peacock will also showcase two new features: Peacock Live Actions and Peacock Discovery Multiview.
 
“Live Actions” will allow streamers to follow the events they are most interested in during both live and taped primetime coverage. Viewers watching the NBC Primetime simulcast will be able add upcoming events to their “My Stuff” list to stream later.
 
The feature’s “Gold Zone” programming will provide rolling coverage from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, guiding viewers to the best and most exciting moments happening during the Games. On-screen prompts will enable the feature’s streamers to continue watching the live feed of a specific event instead of staying with the “Gold Zone” coverage.
 
With up to 40 live events happening simultaneously, Peacock’s “Discovery Multiview” will offer an enhanced four-view experience that helps users navigate to their most important events, with real-time on-screen descriptions informing about what is at stake, such as a medal event, an elimination risk or a first-time Olympian. In addition, Multiview will feature up to four matches on one screen and is available for sports such as soccer, track and field, and wrestling.
 
Peacock will be the first standalone streaming app to offer a Multiview experience across smart TVs, streaming devices, web browsers and tablets. The streamer will begin testing this feature during select events this spring.
 
“The Paris Olympics will mark another major milestone for Peacock’s live streaming with an unprecedented viewing experience that demonstrates our commitment to our customers, clients and partners,” Kelly Campbell, president of Peacock and direct-to-consumer for NBCUniversal, said in a statement.
 
Campbell said the special streaming features would be used again for other live events on the platform going forward.
 
“These features … join the growing list of interactive elements and ad innovations that continue to set Peacock apart,” Campbell said.
 
Separately, Peacock will provide users with a “spotlight” of the biggest live events displayed at the top of the screen when fans enter the Olympics hub.
 
A“Browse by Sport” rail allows streamers to quickly find all live events highlights and replays for their favorite competitions. A new “Search by Star Athlete” feature enables streamers to find live events or replays that include their favorite athletes, regardless of whether they are an individual competitor or part of a team sport. As in previous Olympics, users can also search by sport, event and team, including country names and three-letter country codes.
 
An enhanced “Interactive Schedule” enables users to plan their Olympics viewing day-by-day, join events live, watch replays or add events to their “My Stuff” to watch later.
 

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The platform will also stream an updated medal tracker, as well as “Catch Up With Key Plays” link, which allows users to access key moments when joining an in-progress game or revisit their favorite plays, in basketball, golf and soccer.

This will be the third time Paris has hosted the Olympics (1900 and 1924), tying London for the most as a Summer Games host. Los Angeles (1932, 1984) will tie those two cities when it hosts the first Summer Games in the United States in 32 years in 2028.
 
NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games through 2032, which are scheduled for Paris (2024), Milan Cortina (2026), Los Angeles (2028) and Brisbane (2032). The host city for the 2030 Olympic Winter Games has not yet been chosen.

NBCUniversal to Screen Live Daytime Coverage of 2024 Paris Summer Olympics at AMC Theatres Nationwide

NBCUniversal March 13 announced that NBC Sports will extend its exclusive daily live daytime coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics to AMC Theatres as a ticketed event throughout the United States from July 27 to Aug. 11.
 
Beginning the day after the Opening Ceremony, select daytime hours of NBC’s live coverage of the Paris Games will be shown in approximately 160 AMC locations nationwide. Tickets will be available for purchase through AMC and Fandango this summer.
 
On March 29, an NBCUniversal’s promotional trailer for its coverage of the Olympics will begin to run in AMC theaters nationwide.
 
“The afternoon broadcasts will offer many of the most compelling live moments from Paris, and we believe these gatherings will fuel overall enthusiasm for the Games,” Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, said in a statement.
 
The daily access to AMC theaters marks another non-studio theatrical event for the nation’s largest exhibitor following exclusive successful box office runs for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour Concert Movie and Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé.
 
 
In Paris this summer, the world’s greatest athletes will compete against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful cities in the world where the modern Olympic Games were conceived 130 years ago. This will be the third time Paris has hosted the Olympics (1900 and 1924), tying London for the most as a Summer Games host. Los Angeles (1932, 1984) will tie those two cities when it hosts the first Summer Games in the United States in 32 years in 2028.
 
NBCUniversal previously announced that the NBC broadcast network and Peacock streaming service will be the company’s primary platforms for its coverage of the Paris Olympics, beginning July 26.
 
NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games through 2032, which are scheduled for Milan Cortina (winter 2026), Los Angeles (summer 2028) and Brisbane (summer 2032). The host city for the 2030 Olympic Winter Games has not yet been chosen.
 

NBCUniversal Content Video Clips Launch on The Roku Channel

NBCUniversal and Roku Feb. 28 announced that short-form video clips from “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” are now available on The Roku Channel after airing on NBC. Clips from NBC Sports will be launching in the coming weeks.

Viewers can also access each show’s regularly updated library of clips via specific landing pages, discoverable through the Roku Home Screen and Roku Search.

“Roku is an important partner, bringing our entertainment and information to tens of millions of homes and broadening our footprint for our audiences and partners,” Matt Schnaars, president of content distribution for NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

Current and newly launched NBCUniversal apps and services on Roku include Peacock, NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Telemundo, USA, NBC Sports, NBC News and CNBC. FAST Channels include NBC News Now, Dateline 24/7, Today All Day, LX, NBC and Telemundo local owned stations, The Rotten Tomatoes Channel, Saved by the Bell, American Crimes, Bravo Vault, E! Keeping Up, GolfPass, Historias de Amor, Lassie, Made in Chelsea, Million Dollar Listing Vault, NBC Sports, Oxygen True Crime Archives, Real Housewives Vault, SkyNews, SNL Vault, The Long Ranger, Top Chef Vault, Murder, She Wrote, Alfred Hitchcock, Little House On The Prairie, Bad Girls Club, TNBC, Universal Action, Universal Crime, Universal Monsters, and Universal Westerns.

Through Dec. 31, 2023, The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 120 million people and is a top 10 streaming app in the U.S., according to Nielsen.

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EnTech Fest: NBCUni’s Matt Strauss Talks About Making NFL Streaming History

While his family was watching the Jan. 13 NFL Wild Card playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, Matt Strauss had more than touchdowns on his mind.

The NBCUniversal chairman, direct-to-consumer and international, was anxiously monitoring Peacock’s exclusive live stream of the playoff game — a first for the industry — and if things went sideways, there would be a lot of angry football fans.

“No one had ever done that before,” he said Feb. 7 during a keynote at EnTech Fest, presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group in Los Angeles.

“We felt like we were going to melt down the internet,” he said, talking about the planning for the event. “We spent seven months just war-gaming.”

The team ran models, and he told them to double the capacity of what was expected.

In the end, the game attracted 23 million viewers.

“We actually used 30 % of the entire U.S. internet for this one game,” he said.

Peacock, he said during the keynote, has from the very beginning been looking to go where there is “white space,” zigging when others zag. That’s why it launched with ads just as everyone was touting subscription streaming without. Now, most of the SVOD platforms have gotten on board with advertising.

“It’s really about share of time and share of wallet,” he said. “We knew advertising was going to be important to our business model.”

The service now has 31 million subscribers and $10 a month of RPU.

“We’re not competing; we’re a complement,” he said. “We believed that not any one streaming service was going to be able to supply consumer streaming calories.”

The company also built Peacock with an eye toward live programming, including sports, news and unscripted, and using that live streaming to grow the business.

“At the end of that [Wild Card] game we put you into one of our new series ‘ted,’” he noted.

Moderator Jim Wuthrich, DEG chair emeritus, asked Strauss about the just announced pending sports joint venture between Warner Bros. Discovery, Fox and Disney.

“It’s about sports, but it’s also about bundling,” Strauss said, adding increased bundling is in the industry’s future.

During the early days of streaming, consumers had a wealth of quality programming, he noted.

“Those economics were never going to be supported with the retail prices that streaming services were charging,” he said.

Prices are going up, advertising is being inserted and bundling is on the rise.

In the end, streaming is similar to TV; services want to keep consumers coming back every day, he said.

“I don’t see how you accomplish that without some element of live,” he said.

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He also said streaming platforms may offer products other than just video, for instance ticketing services such as Fandango (also part of NBCUniversal).

“We will have to evolve our definition of what a streaming service is,” he said.