NBCUniversal: Linear TV to remain core part of business’ future

NBCUniversal has no plans to exit the the linear TV business despite an “inevitable shift towards streaming in the future”, according to Hendrik McDermott, managing director of EMEA Networks, Hayu & International Direct-to-Consumer at NBCUniversal

Source: DTG

Speaking at the DTG Summit today in London, McDermott indicated linear TV will be remain a core part of the business along with streaming.

“Linear TV is still a huge part of our portfolio,” he said. “It just speaks to a different cohort of people.”

He stressed the company’s priority is rather creating a” balance” between  streaming and linear television as the TV landscape continues to evolve.

“The linear component of our business is a lot more resource intensive and more capital intensive. So in order to pivot for the sort of future we could have, we have to streamline that,” he said.

McDermott pointed to the recent restructure at the company as part of its move to easily shift its focus between its streaming and linear TV operations. The reorganisation  that took place about a year ago, saw the EMEA Networks & DTC team and Hayu teams align under the leadership of McDermott.

He said, “our SVOD business and our linear business, there’s a lot of shared resources. So we can combine some of these teams together, some of the back office functions obviously, but some of the other operational functions as well, which allows us to be a bit more streamlined in our business operation.”

The company’s main goal is “trying to reach as many people as possible whether it is paid subscription or linear TV,” he added.


NBCUniversal International Networks & DTC (NBCUIN & DTC) first launched in Spain in 2021 and it is now available in France, Africa and Latin America.

The hybrid linear and VOD offering differs across each territory, with NBCUIN & DTC wrapping the Universal+ umbrella brand around the pay-TV network brands they have in any given market. Across EMEA, those brands include Universal TV, 13th Street, SYFY, Telemundo, E! and DreamWorks. According to the exec, NBCUIN & DTC has 26 pay-TV networks across the EMEA region.

McDermott said the rollout of Universal+ has been key contributing factor in expanding NBCU’s international footprint and creating new opportunities for revenue growth.

“It allow us serve to our clients who are typically cable and satellite broadcasters. in various different markets across the world,” he said.

He added, “you can pull it out of the cable and satellite world as well, and enter into business operations with the likes of Amazon Prime Video Channels and other platforms that are not part of the traditional pay TV universe. So critically for us, that creates a new revenue stream. whereas previously we were focused on wholesale distribution and advertising.”

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