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NBCU Preps ‘WatchBack’ App to Promote TV Shows via Free Episode Sampling

NBCUniversal is developing a new app, dubbed “WatchBack,” that’s basically meant to be a hype-machine for the media company’s multiple shows and brands, Variety has confirmed.

The company doesn’t have a firm launch date for WatchBack, but it could be ready to roll before the end of 2018. The app would be free, and it won’t have any exclusive content or full series — just clips or single episodes, designed as a way to get people interested in the programming on NBCU’s broadcast and cable networks.

Word of NBCU’s WatchBack plan was first reported by The Information. As a promotional incentive to get people to tune in to NBCUniversal broadcast and cable shows, the app will grant points to viewers for content they watch which they could then redeem for rewards or gift certificates, per The Information report. However, NBCU isn’t going to be “paying viewers” to watch its programming per se, as the article implies.

A source familiar with the strategy behind the app emphasized that WatchBack isn’t part of a larger NBCU streaming strategy — it’s not a premium over-the-top service like CBS All Access. Rather, it’s seen as a purely promotional tool to create new fans of the Peacock’s shows.

The watchback.com domain name is registered to NBCUniversal Media, and the website currently displays a message that says, “coming soon…”

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