It will come in three versions: a free, ad-supported one; a more robust, ad-supported one that will be free to Comcast and Cox Cable subscribers, and $5 for everyone else; and an offering with no ads that is $5 for Comcast and Cox subscribers and $10 for everyone else.
The service will have an “early bird” launch in April for subscribers of X1 and Flex, which account for a majority of total subscribers to the No. 1 U.S. cable operator. The national rollout comes just before the July 24 start of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which offers the company a large promotional megaphone. A bundled arrangement with Comcast and Cox Cable will also kick in at that time, making Peacock available in 24 million homes.
Additional distribution deals are in the works, the company said. Specific third-party distributors like Apple, Amazon or Roku were not called out in advance of the presentation, but a press release promised Peacock will be on “popular web, mobile and connected-TV devices.”
Along with the launch date and pricing, executives delivered a wealth of other detail to investors and media gathered in New York for a presentation at 30 Rock’s famed Studio 8H. Peacock is the last new large-scale entrant in the streaming derby to outline its plans to Wall Street and the media, following similarly formatted presentations held in Burbank in recent months by Disney and WarnerMedia. Apple and Quibi also held pre-launch events, but with more of a high-tech flavor, Apple at its Cupertino headquarters and Quibi at CES.
By 2024, NBCU and Comcast forecast there will be 30 million to 35 million active users of Peacock. The international scope of Peacock has not been specified over the long term, but initially it will have a domestic focus. The user forecast is below where WarnerMedia and Disney have predicted they will get by 2024, but Comcast has long emphasized that it doesn’t intend to go all-in on subscription revenue and wants to tap the company’s existing advertising operations. Peacock said its launch sponsors, which include State Farm, Target and Unilever, will net the company “hundreds of millions of initial advertising revenue.”
Peacock Free, the free, ad-supported basic option, is effectively a teaser version of Peacock Premium, the more robust Peacock offering with ads. Peacock Premium will be will available for free to Comcast and Cox subscribers, and for all others will be $5 a month. The ad-free tier will cost Comcast and Cox subscribers $5 a month, and everyone else will pay $10.
The pricing scheme generally met the expectations of investors and media observers and situates Peacock toward the lower end of the streaming spectrum. Netflix’s most popular tier costs $13 a month and WarnerMedia’s initial ad-free incarnation of HBO Max will cost $15. Disney+ is $7 a month on a stand-alone basis and Apple TV+ is $5.
Peacock Free includes next-day access to current seasons of freshman broadcast series, a range of film and TV titles but only select episodes of marquee Peacock originals and tentpole series. It will also feature curated Peacock streaming genre channels like “SNL Vault,” “Family Movie Night” and “Olympic Profiles.”
Peacock Premium, meanwhile, adds full-season Peacock originals and tentpole series and next-day access to current seasons of returning broadcast shows. It also throws in early access to late night titles like the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and sports attractions like exclusive Premier League soccer matches, Olympic programming
Programming will include 600 movie titles and 400 series, including NBC broadcast mainstays like the Law & Order franchise, The Office and Parks and Recreation; acquired titles like Yellowstone and Two and a Half Men, and a slate of original shows.
“This is a very exciting time for our company, as we chart the future of entertainment,” NBCU chairman Steve Burke said in the official press release. “We have one of the most enviable collections of media brands and the strongest ad sales track record in the business. Capitalizing on these key strengths, we are taking a unique approach to streaming that brings value to customers, advertisers and shareholders.”
“Peacock will provide consumers with a destination that goes beyond movies and television, aggregating a variety of content that fans want on one service,” said Matt Strauss, Chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises. “By delivering timely and topical content like breaking news, live sports, and watercooler moments from late night, Peacock is uniquely bringing a pulse to the world of streaming that does not exist in today’s marketplace.”
Peacock will offer extensive coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, some of it exclusive. Peacock will feature live coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies before they air on NBC in primetime. It will also stream three daily Olympic shows. That lineup includes Tokyo Live, with live coverage of one particularly compelling event from the day; Tokyo Daily Digest, with midday highlights; and Tokyo Tonight, a complement to the primetime show that is designed to help audiences catch up on the day’s events.
Beginning in August 2020, Peacock will carry 2,000 hours of Premier League coverage, including more than 140 matches that aren’t available on television, as well as clips and replays.
The Ryder Cup golf tournament will be coming to the service in September 2020.
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