NBCU’s Reality Streaming Service Hayu Launches in Three New Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

It’s easier to keep up with the Kardashians in the Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg after NBCUniversal launched its reality-TV streaming service, hayu, in those countries Tuesday.

The service went live with about 6,000 episodes of unscripted fare from NBCUniversal’s lineup, including “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Made in Chelsea” and “The Real Housewives” and “Million Dollar Listing” franchises. The launch in the three Benelux countries brings to 11 the number of territories where hayu is available. Recent rollouts for the service include in Canada.

“The Netherlands has always been a strong market for reality TV, and we’re really excited about Belgium and Luxembourg as well,” Hendrik McDermott, SVP of branded on-demand for NBCUniversal International, told Variety.

In Benelux, hayu will start out as a direct-to-consumer English-language offering, but NBCU will look for opportunities to align with platform partners the way it has in other territories such as the U.K., where the streaming service is bundled with one of Virgin’s packages, or Australia, where there is a deal with telco and broadband operator Telstra.

“The reality of trying to get these launches out of the door at the speed we’re doing means we are launching without a partner [in the Benelux countries], but will be actively pursuing partnership discussions,” McDermott said. “We already have some underway.”

About 700 to 1,000 hours of content will be added per-year in Benelux, as has been the case elsewhere, McDermott said. As in the U.K. and Ireland, third-party fare is likely to be added to the lineup. Shows launch on hayu on the same day as the U.S. and can be downloaded.

There will be a 30-day free trial in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg before a monthly €5.99 ($6.83) subscription kicks in.

The first hayu launches were in Australia, Ireland and the U.K. in 2016, and the service extended its reach to the Nordics a year later. McDermott said that the expansion into international markets, outside the U.S. where there are no plans to launch, will continue apace through 2019 and beyond.

“We have ambitions for this to be a global brand [outside the U.S.]. This has the potential to get there,” he said. “We’re looking at expansion territories for 2019 and will continue to actively evaluate the markets. On top of that we’ll continue to look at incremental partnership relationships in our existing territories.”

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