Comcast-owned media companies NBCUniversal and Sky were set to launch a new global news network this summer.
According to a report in Variety, the company has decided to “stop launch plans” for a new global news network, NBC Sky World News, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When things become more clear, when we get to the other side of this crisis, we’ll review all these plans,” NBC News chairman Andy Lack reportedly told staff. “I want to underscore just how committed we are to increasing our journalism outside the U.S.”
The company had already set up production bases dedicated to the streaming news service in London and New York, and a team of roughly 50 journalists were to be stationed around the world. Those journalists will still be utilized, reporting to NBC News international chief Deborah Turness in order to help cover COVID-19 for NBC News.
According to Variety, NBC News’ own global journalism efforts will continue to be headquartered in London, and the new hires will be parts of those efforts.
You’ll likely recall that Comcast acquired European broadcasting titan Sky PLC in October 2018 for $39 billion. At the time of the acquisition, Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts said a global news streaming platform featuring resources from NBCUniversal and Sky News would launch in late 2019. The launch date was then pushed to summer 2020. Now, it will be even later.
NBC News’s international expansion began even earlier, in 2017, when former NBC News president Deborah Turness was named the first president of NBC News International, reporting to Lack. NBC News entered into a partnership with Euronews in a joint venture called EuronewsNBC.