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3 Months : From Apr 2019 to Jul 2019
By Joe Flint
NBCUniversal gave ad buyers every reason to believe that its coming direct-to-consumer streaming service would feature reruns of "The Office, " which is currently the most-watched show on Netflix Inc.
During its presentation to advertisers Monday at Radio City Music Hall, NBCUniversal sales chief Linda Yaccarino all but said the popular sitcom that ran on NBC and was made by its sister TV studio would be on the platform, which is due to launch next year.
First, a graphic touting the Comcast Corp. unit's assets pointed out the popularity of "The Office" on Netflix, which seemed out of place at an event aimed at pitching platforms that, unlike Netflix, have advertising.
Then Ms. Yaccarino said the great NBC shows would be "coming home" to the streaming service. If that wasn't subtle enough, she then talked about the great characters of NBC shows past and present including "Jim and Pam," whose romance was a major plot of "The Office" during its run.
Netflix's deal for "The Office" -- which gives it exclusive streaming rights -- isn't up until 2021. It is already facing the prospect of losing episodes of "Friends" to a new streaming service from AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia. "Friends" is owned by Warner Bros., a unit of WarnerMedia.
Last December, Netflix struck a deal for one more year of "Friends" at a cost of $100 million. Under the terms of the deal, WarnerMedia can move the show to its service, scheduled to make its debut later this year, on an exclusive basis or share it with Netflix for a reduced price.
Netflix's head of content Ted Sarandos has said the streaming service long anticipated the possibility of losing popular reruns as Walt Disney Co., WarnerMedia and Comcast begin their own streaming services.
A Netflix spokesman declined to comment on Ms Yaccarino's remarks.
Unlike the other coming services, NBCUniveral's will be free and have commercials.
"While other companies are pushing advertisers out, we are bringing you in," Ms. Yaccarino said.
Write to Joe Flint at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 13, 2019 13:18 ET (17:18 GMT)
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