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Netflix tests global live streaming

Netflix will make its first attempt at streaming live programming next year with a new comedy special from the comedian Chris Rock, the streamer said on Thursday.

The special will stream live, globally, in early 2023. Additional details are expected to be shared at a later date.

“Chris Rock is one of the most iconic and important comedic voices of our generation,” Robbie Praw, Netflix’s vp stand-up and comedy formats, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled the entire world will be able to experience a live Chris Rock comedy event and be a part of Netflix history. This will be an unforgettable moment and we’re so honored that Chris is carrying this torch.”

Rock’s last comedy special for Netflix was 2018’s Chris Rock: Tamborine.

Netflix’s foray into comedy live programming could pave the way for the streamer to experiment with other lucrative genres, including live sports. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Netflix has explored acquiring the streaming rights to tennis and cycling programming in select countries, though executives like co-CEO Reed Hastings have remained concerns about the high biddings costs of getting into live sports.

But it’s a path that Netflix’s streaming competitors like Apple TV+ and Amazon’s Prime Video have ventured into. Apple TV+ has a 10-year deal for Major League Soccer games and for Friday night Major League Baseball games. Amazon has partnered up with the NFL for Thursday Night Football, which represents the league’s first exclusive national streaming rights deal. The Hollywood Reporter

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