NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell. Photo by Bloomberg
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NBCUniversal’s Streaming Strategy Raises Prospect of WarnerMedia Merger

Photo: NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell. Photo by Bloomberg

As Netflix and Disney cement their leads over an array of rivals in the video-streaming market, top executives at Comcast and its NBCUniversal arm are in a quandary. Only 11.3 million households regularly watch NBCU’s Peacock service, far fewer than use competing services, according to recent internal data viewed by The Information. NBCU wants to ramp up Peacock’s growth, particularly among paying users, but without spending a lot of money.

Its solution is to strike deals with other entertainment companies to broaden either Peacock’s programming or its distribution. Last month NBCU unveiled programming deals for Peacock with World Wrestling Entertainment and A&E. And over the past several months, NBCU has pitched ViacomCBS, among other companies, about offering their streaming services in a bundle with Peacock at a discounted rate, either in the U.S. or abroad, say people familiar with the situation. All these efforts raise the prospect that NBCU could pursue a merger with another firm, such as WarnerMedia, at some point.

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