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NBCU Preps Watch Back, a Streaming Service That Rewards Viewers

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What's better than free? TV that pays.

Industry reports suggest NBCUniversal is preparing a streaming video service that's not only free, but rewards viewers for watching shows. Called Watch Back, the service is expected to launch in the fall with a mix of NBCU programs and second-run titles from online creators. The service won't have full seasons of NBC shows, reports suggest, but will let people sample the programming from its networks, including NBC, USA, and Bravo. Rewards might come in the form of points that can be exchanged for gift certificates. The service would be a marketing effort to get viewers interested in NBCU programming, not an attempt at creating a streaming competitor.

Reports differ about how serious the project is, with The Information saying everything is still in the decision stage, and The Hollywood Reporter saying NBCU has secured the WatchBack.com domain and the service will launch in the fall. It also points out that NBCU has already started licensing nonexclusive programming for the service.

NBCU is currently creating a streaming news service for younger viewers, expected to debut later this year. The network had a short-lived failure with Seeso, a comedy streaming service, which launched in January 2016 and folded in November 2017.

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