4 Upfronts 2019 Headlines to Follow in the Age of Streaming Media

By Chris Bassolino on May 20, 2019

We all knew The Office was leaving Netflix…

But we weren’t sure of its new home until NBC’s Upfronts 2019 presentation, where it was announced it would stream on their own service, coming in 2020.

But… Netflix’s licensing deal for “The Office” runs through 2021...It’s unclear if NBCU will need to wait until the Netflix deal runs out before bringing the show to its own service…

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg at this year’s Upfronts.

Here are a few more headlines that anyone producing or distributing online video should continue following throughout the year.

Old Shows are Hot News

Beyond “The Office”, other older yet top performing shows like “Friends” are “coming home” according to NBCUniversal’s ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino, who spoke on stage at their upfront 2019 preseentation at Radio City Musical Hall.

They aren’t the only ones pulling their older content from streaming partners like Hulu and Netflix.

With the DisneyPlus streaming announcement just a few weeks ago, it’s clear that old shows and content can be an acquisition and retention tool for subscription video as DisneyPlus will be the exclusive home for top Pixar and Disney movies.

Which might be bad news for Netflix as “more than half of the top 50 shows on Netflix are made by media companies planning to launch rival streaming services, according to Jumpshot data cited by Recode.”

News Streaming is Gaining Momentum

CBS News’s live streaming news network, CBSN, now has one million daily video streams, with 80% watching the content live.

Millennials are likely to consume their news through other media forms like print and digital words. In fact, sixty four percent of millennials use digital outlets to find out what’s happening in the world. Millennials still watch TV, but only 24 percent of them, compared to 51 percent of the 55+ generation.

So it makes sense that live news streaming is gaining in popularity. CBS News also has a five year head start on other news channels… So it will be interesting to see how the news streaming wars plays out.

Digital Publishers are Producing More Long-form Shows

Buzzfeed announced that their video strategy will moves to more TV-like digital shows tied to specific verticals.

You may not have known this, but Buzzfeed’s move to longform, serial content has been slowly occurring over the last several years. One of their top millennial media video series shows include “Worth It,” which features a host trying similar foods at three different price points to select the best.

The show, which has run for five seasons, has collected 4 5.3 million video views and 323.4 million minutes of watch time on YouTube in the past three months.


If you’re not analyzing what top digital publishers are doing in video...you’re falling behind.

Quibi Bets Big... Like Real Big

Did you know Meg Whitman was running a “mobile first TV” company?

I didn’t.

Quibi came out of the woodworks at the perfect time to announce...they’re raising $2 Billion.

Yes, billion with a capital B.

While they were not an official part of the 2019 Upfronts, it’s clear this was a strategic announcement on their part.

But...does it really take that much money to compete with Hulu, Netflix, and other digital streaming services?

Well, they’ve already raised $1 billion...so some venture capitalists must believe them.

When Netflix is spending over $15 billion in 2019 on producing and licensing content, the number begins to make a little sense.

With a mission to “entertain, inform and inspire with fresh content from today’s top talent—one quick bite at a time”, we’ll see if they can take a bite out of the streaming wars when they launch in the fall 2020.

Upfronts 2019: Streaming is Here to Stay but TV isn’t Dead

There were dozens of other Upfronts 2019 headlines...and to be honest, it was hard to pick just four. However, we think these headlines will be the most interesting to follow over the next year, especially for those in the streaming and digital video verticals.

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