Strauss and Comcast’s Dana Strong took part in a press briefing Tuesday about Peacock, which is launching free for Comcast subscribers on Wednesday. It will roll out nationally on July 15 on Cox cable systems and yet-to-be-announced connected devices and systems. A free, ad-supported basic offering will be nationally available on July 15, and Peacock Premium, which has twice the amount of content, will be available for $5 a month, or $10 for an ad-free version.
The cable and broadband distribution side of Comcast is holding up well during COVID-19, though the rest of the company has been rocked by the shutdown of production, movie theaters, sports and theme parks. Shell himself was among the notable entertainment figures to receive a positive diagnosis for the virus last month, though he has since made a complete recovery.
Shell and Strauss alluded to some of the hurdles at Peacock’s launch, reasoning, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” They characterized 2020 as “our runway to 2021,” given the delayed arrival of the Olympics next year as well as the expected delivery of original programming left unfinished during the current shutdown.
Here is the full text of the memo:
With the launch of Peacock, tomorrow marks an exciting milestone in our company’s history. We wanted to take this moment to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication to this important initiative.
When we targeted April 15th as the launch date, we knew we had our work cut out for us, but never imagined we would be faced with the challenges that this global pandemic has created. Yet nothing has stopped us, even with the entire Peacock team, and much of the company at large, working from home in all parts of the world. There is no better example of Symphony across NBCUniversal, Comcast Cable and Sky than the teamwork and collaboration that has gone into the creation of this new business.
When you look at the product we are launching today, it is hard to believe Peacock was conceived just a little over a year ago. Fortunately, we hit the ground running by drawing on some of the resources of Sky – tapping into their streaming expertise as well as the technology of Now TV.
Thanks to our partnership with Comcast Cable, Peacock will be available as an early preview in millions of Comcast homes across the country on the Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms. And starting in May, we are kicking off an extensive marketing campaign to promote Peacock with prominent exposure across the Xfinity channel guide, website and Xfinity retail stores.
We also want to acknowledge every NBCUniversal division for helping us get to where we are today. Peacock’s breadth of content — from TV entertainment to film to Hispanic programming to news to sports — as well as an impressive group of launch sponsors, is reflective of the unprecedented collaboration that went into this. Additionally, many of the Peacock team members were recruited from various NBCU businesses that fully supported their staff joining this new venture.
With much of the country hunkered down at home right now, demand for entertainment and news is at an all-time high. Our unique strategy to offer a free service with limited commercials that leans heavily into library titles and topical content, feels like just what every American wants right now.
We have said from the beginning that this is a marathon not a sprint. While we are launching with a strong array of news and entertainment offerings, much more content will be on the platform down the road, including our original productions and many more sporting events (which are delayed in the wake of COVID-19). The product itself is in its beginning phase and will undergo continuous updates and enhancements.
We are viewing 2020 as our runway to 2021, which is the year Peacock takes center stage. With The Office debuting along with our originals slate in early 2021, followed by the Olympics next summer – Peacock will be unstoppable.
We can’t wait for each of you to check out Peacock. For some of you who are not in Comcast markets, we are giving you the opportunity to sign up for an early bird trial of Peacock, available exclusively to NBCU employees.
We are also pleased to announce that we will be giving eligible employees the premium version of Peacock as a special gift when the service launches nationally, on July 15th.
A sincere thanks to the entire Peacock team for creating a product that makes the entire company proud. There is truly nothing we can’t accomplish together.
NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer
Chairman, Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises
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