NBC Goes Live Online... for Cable Subs

Joining fellow broadcasters ABC and CBS, NBCUniversal added live streaming of its linear television lineup to the company's website and mobile apps this week -- a move that was widely anticipated after news of NBC's plans first surfaced in December. (See NBC Goes Live Online, With a Catch.)

There are a couple of caveats to the new service from NBC Universal , however. First, it only works in metropolitan areas where NBC owns and operates the local affiliate stations. (Full list below.*) Independent affiliates are expected to roll out live streaming later in the year.

Second, viewers have to sign in with their pay-TV credentials in order to access the NBC shows online.

NBC's TV Everywhere service includes round-the-clock streaming of live primetime and late-night television, network news, local programming, some sports content and syndicated shows. NFL games are not part of the package, however, due to licensing restrictions. NBC also expanded its online on-demand library this week. Some VoD content was previously made available on NBC.com.

Want to know more about OTT video? Check out our OTT content channel on Light Reading.

NBC is following in the footsteps of ABC Inc. , which introduced its Watch ABC app in 2013. Although broadcast content for both networks is free over the air, it's not accessible over the Internet unless viewers have already signed up for a pay-TV subscription. That means that broadband-only households still can't watch ABC and NBC shows live online. It's a trend that some members of Congress have called the "cable-ization of the Internet." (See Rep. Rips Retrans 'Racket' .)

CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), meanwhile, has taken a different route from its broadcast fellows. The network launched the CBS All Access subscription service last fall, making CBS shows available to anyone online for a $5.99 monthly fee. (See CBS Takes OTT Plunge.)

*NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations include WNBC in New York, KNBC in Los Angeles, WMAQ in Chicago, WCAU in Philadelphia, KXAS in Dallas-Fort Worth, KNTV in the San Francisco Bay Area, WRC in Washington, D.C., WTVJ in Miami-Fort Lauderdale, KNSD in San Diego, and WVIT in Connecticut.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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