No one could accuse Comcast’s NBCUniversal of betting all on its upcoming streaming service. Comments from NBCU CEO Steve Burke on the company’s earnings call on Wednesday made clear that decisions about whether to pull its programs from rival services for its own offering will be decided on economics. Specifically, those decisions will depend on the shows and “on the prices we can command on those products,” he said In other words, if rivals like Netflix or Amazon pay up to license an NBCU-made show, NBCU will take the money rather than keep the show for its own service.
That makes sense, given the intense competition in the streaming space, which makes chances of success for NBCU’s own service difficult to forecast. And NBCU makes good money licensing out shows: content licensing revenues at its cable channels rose 28% in the latest quarter, helping NBCU increase adjusted EBITDA 12% overall.