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Comcast drops plan for NBC Sky World News service

Comcast has reportedly shelved plans for the international news channel it hoped to rollout this year to rival CNN, blaming the COVID-19 crisis for forcing it to scupper the project.

Concrete details of the plan for a channel to be branded As NBC Sky World News – the first co-branded operation between Comcast’s US network and European pay TV operation ­– emerged at the start of the year, but it had earlier been trailed by Comcast CEO Brian Roberts during the company’s 2019 earnings call, when he talked about the company’s plans for “launching a global NBC-Sky news channel”                         *         –

However, according to the UK Financial Times, Comcast executives have told staff hired for the project that the business model to support it was no longer viable.

The launch had been put on hold in April as the impact of the pandemic became clear.

The original plan had been to create a channel operating 10 news bureaus globally, leaning on the combined expertise of Sky News and NBC News.

Comcast envisaged targeting English-speaking audiences with a service that was aimed squarely at an already mature market dominated by the likes of CNN and BBC World News. The company’s efforts were headed up by Deborah Turness, NBC News International president.

The proposed news channel was one of a number of collaborative projects designed to highlight the synergistic potential of Comcast’s acquisition of Sky, including the creating of a joint advertising platform and the integration of content distribution units.