• Financial Times reports that Comcast no longer supporting NBC Sky World News
  • Impact of coronavirus on business model cited as reason for change of plans
  • Channel was seen as competitor to CNN and BBC World Service

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Comcast: No longer supporting NBC Sky World News

Media giant Comcast is proposing to drop its plans to launch its new international news channel, NBC Sky World News, according to a report in The Financial Times.

The FT said that executives told staff hired for the channel that Comcast – the parent company of Sky and NBCUniversal - could no longer support the London-based project because coronavirus had made the business model of an international news channel unviable.

NBC Sky World News would have united Comcast’s NBC and Sky brands for the first time, and was seen as a rival to global news channels like CNN and the BBC World Service.

The FT reported that the proposal to shelve the news channel will go to consultation with staff, who have been told they will be able to suggest alternative options. Over 50 staff have reportedly been hired to date.

The FT said that NBC News had declined to comment.

In April, NBC and Sky both decided to delay the summer launch of the business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The venture had faced multiple problems resulting from the Covid-19 outbreak including the moving of staff to home working and the UK lockdown that put a halt to construction work at Sky’s Osterley campus.

NBC announced the news channel in January, when NBC News International president Deborah Turness told Variety: “We see an opportunity to begin an approach that isn’t filtered through a US perspective or a British perspective or any national perspective.”

NBC News chairman Andy Lack told The Financial Times in January that the channel would draw on a combined workforce of 3,500 and eventually hire 100 to 200 dedicated staff.