NBCUniversal is Developing Comedy Video Subscription Service

NBCUniversal hopes to reach the under-35-year-olds with its new comedy subscription service. The streaming service would likely include episodes of NBC shows such as “The Tonight Show” starring Jimmy Fallon and “Saturday Night Live,” in addition to exclusive original content. NBCUniversal is developing this new product to regain some of its cord-cutting viewers who have abandoned pay TV for online streaming. Currently, some of the company’s content is available on YouTube.

nbc2YouTube is already a good start for NBCUniversal’s online viewership. In fact, “70 percent of views garnered by ‘The Tonight Show’ occur online,” reports The Wall Street Journal. However, NBCUniversal cannot monetize those views because it hasn’t reached a revenue-sharing agreement with Google, the owner of YouTube.

NBCUniversal — which owns cable channels including USA, Bravo, and E! — decided that one solution for the recent downslide in ad revenue is this niche genre-focused video subscription service.

The service will most likely cost viewers between $2.50 and $3.50 per month for access to long-form scripted, unscripted, and sketch comedy material. Videos will probably roll out in a “windowing” pattern, so that shows will be exclusively available on the Web service before they are uploaded to YouTube or Netflix, which licenses past seasons of NBC shows.

NBCUniversal is the latest addition to the trend of traditional TV companies moving into the streaming business. CBS has a $6 per month online video service that includes both live and on-demand CBS shows and local programming. Viacom will launch a $6 subscription service with programming aimed at preschoolers. For the first time, HBO will also offer paid online access to its shows and movies without a pay TV subscription.