NBC News’ direct to consumer service has a new name and a launch date.
Initially known as NBC News Signal which it launched last year, the network’s forthcoming OTT product will launch at the beginning of May, and be known as NBC News Now (not to be confused with the short-lived ABC News Now).
NBC News president Noah Oppenheim announced the news today at South by Southwest.
“We are going to launch with 8 hours of programming, including live updates at the top of every hour and when breaking news mandates, we’ll go up live as well,” said Oppenheim. “So, for folks who don’t have a traditional cable subscription it will be a great way to access the reporting of NBC News.”
LA Times’ Steve Battaglio, who moderated a conversation with Oppenheim and NBC News colleagues at the Texas festival, asked about how the service will work and look and if it plans to expand:
“You go into the NBC News app, there will be a tap, presumably or the link will say NBC News Now and you won’t need to authenticate… We will go to 24/7 over the course of the ensuing months.”
Oppenheim added: “We will be doing original work that will be specific for the streaming service, we will be drawing from the reporting that takes place across all the other NBC News properties. We will actually be reaching into other corners of NBCUniversal, E! News, sports, you name it, for some of that content. People’s consumption habits are changing rapidly and it’s not limited to just young people.”
The next question is: Does NBC News really need this service? It already has the broadcast network. It has the 24/7 cable network. It has the financial news network, and it has the Snapchat platform for Gen-Zers.
According to NBC News, the answer is yes, and this sentiment goes back to last year when Signal originally launched.
“There is the Gen-Z generation that we are successfully reaching with our Snapchat show Stay Tuned, and another that we have been successfully reaching for decades with NBC News and MSNBC, which are baby boomers and older Gen-X,” NBC News Group svp of digital Nick Ascheim told TVNewser. “But there’s also this ‘in-between’ group of 25-45 year olds that are not being well-served by us or our competitors with always-on video news.”
Ascheim added: “Our research has shown us that they are hungry for news around the topics of the moment but they’re not likely to subscribe to cable or not feel fulfilled by the quick bites from mobile news notifications. That’s where we come in.”