Here are the most-read stories of the week.
NBCU's streaming service to boost Sky, Comcast ad platforms, analysts say
Comcast Corp. unit NBCUniversal Media LLC's upcoming streaming service will speed Sky PLC's disruption of the U.K. TV advertising market, according to analysts. The new ad-supported service will have thousands of hours of programming from NBC's channels, including 80% of the broadcaster's most famous shows, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said recently.
Upfronts 2019: NBCU streaming service 'largest initiative' in company history
In related news, NBCUniversal Media touted its ad-supported streaming service at the company's upfront presentation. Calling it the "largest initiative" in our company's history," Chairman of Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships Linda Yaccarino pointed a finger at streaming service Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co.'s own branded streaming entry Disney+, which is slated to bow Nov. 12. "While other companies are pushing advertisers out, we are bringing you in," Yaccarino told media buyers and planners. The upfronts are a series of annual spring events where network executives pitch new TV lineups to advertising buyers.
Data Dispatch: Analysts question impact of prepaid segment on Sprint/T-Mobile merger review
Among the top four U.S. wireless carriers, T-Mobile US Inc. leads the prepaid market, though its strength has waned somewhat in recent quarters. A sale of the prepaid business may be on the table as T-Mobile tries to win approval for its Sprint Corp. deal. "T-Mobile's market dominance would make it incredibly difficult for other prepaid providers to compete or even enter the marketplace," a coalition of advocacy groups — including Common Cause and Consumers Union — said about the merger in a filing.
Upfronts 2019: WarnerMedia shakes up programming strategy ahead of streaming bow
Kevin Reilly, president of TBS (US) and TNT (US) and chief creative officer of WarnerMedia's direct-to-consumer division, said, "our networks' distinct assets, distinct audience profiles and massive reach — all working together — will be an equation few, if any, will be able to match" at WarnerMedia's upfront event. WarnerMedia is supported by AT&T's data — culled from set-top boxes, mobile phones and broadband connections — and insights from Xandr, the telco's advanced advertising unit.
Upfronts 2019: ABC stays course to fight churn, ESPN bets big on gambling
Disney put on a nearly two-hour presentation in two theaters at its first upfront event following the acquisition of myriad properties from 21st Century Fox Inc. New additions from the Fox acquisition completed in March, such as FX Network (US) and National Geographic Channel (US), were included alongside programming news from ESPN (US), cable network Freeform (US), ABC (US) and ABC News at the May 14 event. "The power of the advertising portfolio that we have brought together might be the most exciting thing of all," said Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney's direct-to-consumer and international segment. "You’re seeing the company’s first presentation of the full suite of ad-supported platforms in one unified event."