Following the path established by their peers in the media business, Comcast and NBCUniversal have scheduled an investor event as they look to detail their strategy for entering the streaming arena.
On January 16, executives will present details about Peacock, the NBCU service launching next April. The event will be held at the company’s longtime New York headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Aside from securing rights to The Office, emphasizing the role of advertising and noting the leverage afforded by the cable and satellite footprints of Comcast and Sky, the company has been fairly tight-lipped about Peacock. Earlier this fall, the company put longtime Comcast Cable executive Matt Strauss in charge of Peacock in part of a broader management reshuffle. Bonnie Hammer, the veteran cable exec who had been running Peacock, moved into a newly created content role at NBCU.
Investor days dedicated to streaming are becoming more common, but they have achieved mixed results. In the case of Disney, a wealth of financial projections and an initial demo of Disney+ last April helped boost the company’s stock 10% the day after its presentation. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max unveiling in October didn’t have much effect on parent AT&T’s share price and left some unanswered questions about elements such as a planned ad-supported tier and distribution strategy. Apple, in a head-scratching move last March, showed no footage from its Apple TV+ service and did not disclose pricing or a launch date. The fake-out dinged the company’s stock price in the short run, though it has since surged to near an all-time high, and the rollout of Apple TV+ in November appeared to go smoothly (even if critics did not universally praise its initial slate).
Peacock will join an increasingly crowded field as traditional media companies develop alternatives to Netflix and Amazon. In November, Apple TV+ and Disney+ arrived. HBO Max is slated to launch next May.
Pricing has proven to be a key variable scrutinized by investors and media. Apple and Disney have staked out the lower end of the market, at $5 and $7 per month, respectively. HBO Max will be $15, at the high end, but reflecting the service’s deeper well of programming. NBCU execs have discussed giving at least some version of Peacock free to Comcast and Sky customers but also make it available for a fee for others.
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