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Comcast's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal to Shut Down NBCSN by 2021-End

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Comcast’s (CMCSA - Free Report) NBCUniversal intends to shut down its NBCSN sports cable channel by the end of 2021, per a Sports Business Journal report cited by MarketWatch.

Post the closure, NBCSN’s sports programming, including the National Hockey League, the NASCAR racing and the English Premier League soccer, which used to be broadcasted on the cable channel, would be shifted to other NBC platforms, such as the USA Network. Some of the programming will also be moved to NBC’s ad-based streaming platform, Peacock.

Notably, USA Network reaches 86.2 million households compared with NBCSN, which is available across 80.6 million households. Consequently, the migration of sports content to USA Network will drive customer acquisition for the company and boost the viewership of its sports content.

Moreover, the move will consolidate content on the company’s cable channel to fewer networks. This will enable the company to shift its focus from the shrinking Pay-TV industry to online video streaming services.

Solid Adoption of Peacock to Drive Prospects

Comcast’s shares have gained 10.6% over the past year compared with the Zacks Cable Television industry’s growth of 10.9%.
 

 

Notably, coronavirus-induced shelter-in-place practices, which have confined people to their homes, have accelerated demand for online streaming services. Although the theaters globally have started to reopen at limited capacity, the pandemic is still preventing people from venturing out due to safety reasons.

Significant traction in Peacock’s streaming platform, which was launched in July 2020, is a key growth driver. Notably, more than 26 million people have signed up for Peacock since its launch, which is noteworthy.

Peacock’s content line-up includes content from digital linear channels, featuring digital-originated programming from NBCUniversal's broadcast and cable properties as well as third-party content providers.

Moreover, the company has gained exclusive streaming rights for Netflix’s (NFLX - Free Report) popular show, The Office, from Jan 1, which is a major positive. Further, the addition of NBCSN’s sports content to Peacock’s streaming platform will boost its content library.

Notably, Peacock’s entry has further intensified competition in the online streaming market, which is dominated by top players such as Netflix, HBO Max, Disney’s (DIS - Free Report) Hulu and Disney+, and Amazon’s (AMZN - Free Report) prime video.

Growing Popularity of Xfinity Platform Bodes Well

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company largely benefits from the increasing popularity of Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex services, which offer customers a growing collection of networks and a robust portfolio of streaming services on a single platform. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

In December 2020, the company partnered with AT&T’s WarnerMedia for the rollout of the HBO Max application on Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex.

Additionally, Comcast and Disney inked an agreement, which allows the former to distribute the Disney+ and ESPN+ services on its Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms. These streaming services are likely to launch on the X1 and Flex platforms in the first quarter of 2021.

This adds to the list of streaming services on X1 and Flex platforms, which include Peacock, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube and Pandora.

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