Launch of ad-supported service comes more than four years after CBS Interactive debuted CBSN

NBCUniversal, which has been quietly testing an ad-supported news streaming platform, will officially launch its OTT service in early May, the company said at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas.

The service, which has been operating in test mode under the name NBC News Signal, will be called NBC News Now.

“It will be something you can access on Apple TV or Roku or any of those other boxes. We are going to launch with 8 hours of programming, including live updates at the top of every hour, and when breaking news mandates, we’ll go up live as well,” Noah Oppenheim, president of NBC News, told reporters. “So, for folks who don’t have a traditional cable subscription it will be a great way to access the reporting of NBC News.”

The free-to-consumer service will be available over the top to none pay TV subscribers, Oppenheim added. “So, for folks who don’t have a traditional cable subscription it will be a great way to access the reporting of NBC News,” he said.

The service will also feature content from various NBCU linear platforms, many of them not hard-news-oriented.

“We will actually be reaching into other corners of NBCUniversal, E! News, sports, you name it, for some of that content. People’s consumption habits are changing rapidly and it’s not limited to just young people,” Oppenheim said.

NBCU is by no means early to the party here, with CBS Interactive having launched an ad-supported streaming news platform back in November 2014. 

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