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In early 2018, Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s chairman of advertising and partnerships, pitched then-CEO Steve Burke and the NBCU executive committee on what at the time was an off-the-wall idea: creating an free, ad-supported streaming service (AVOD), instead of the SVOD subscription services on the market or in the works from competitors like Netflix and Disney.
“We laid out the macro ecosystem at the time, and where we saw the future going,” Yaccarino said. With “subscription fatigue” already a concern back then, she continued, “if you believed that in exchange for free, you could get great content with a reasonable amount of the right and appropriate ads, and the consumer believed in and trusted that relationship, then you could have a pretty successful proposition.”