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NBC Regional Sports Networks Plan Direct-to-Consumer Products

BY JON LAFAYETTE

NBC Regional Sports Networks Plan Direct-to-Consumer Products

NBCUniversal said its regional sports networks plan to debut their own direct-to-consumer products later this year.

The regional sports network business has been under pressure between cord cutting by consumers and a growing number of traditional and virtual distributor deciding not to carry RSNs because of their high fees.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, which bought the 19 Fox regional sports networks, also seeks to launch a direct-to-consumer business. Its plans have been hamstrung as it negotiates to assemble rights from teams and leagues in order to stream games.

NBC’s plans for a DTC RSN product emerged Monday when Valari Dobson Staab was named chairman of NBCUniversal Local. The RSNs were integrated with the NBC/Telemundo owned stations last year.

NBC later said the information about the DTC product in the announcement was inadvertent and misleading.

" At this stage in the process, our DTC strategy is evolving as we assess options in each of the unique sports markets we serve. At this time, we don’t have any further details about launch plans including timing or markets. More information will be announced when available," an NBCU Local spokesperson said.

Last month, NBC stations announced the launch of streaming news channels on Peacock. Telemundo stations in key markets are preparing to launch their own streaming news channels later this year.