The distribution partnership is the first one beyond Cox Communications to be announced by NBCU for the July 15 national rollout.
Initially, Comcast and NBCU were hoping to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a major promotional platform to drive customer adoption this summer. The Games were shifted to 2021 due to the effects of COVID-19.
The distribution agreement covers the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV for Peacock’s national debut on July 15. At that stage it will have a free, ad-supported tier with 7,500 hours of TV and movie content live and on demand. For $5 a month (for non-Comcast customers), viewers can upgrade to the premium level, which will have 15,000 hours of programming. An additional $5 a month brings subscribers an ad-free version.
In the direct-to-consumer ecosystem, with dozens of connected-device systems and ways of watching a streaming service, a raft of relationships with Apple and other tech companies have come to be as vital as traditional ties with MVPDs. NBCU execs have also said that their own investment in integrating Peacock into Comcast Cable’s Xfinity systems, as well as its launch partnership with Cox, augurs well for traditional pay-TV providers to embrace the service. Charter, the No. 2 cable provider after Comcast, has set a deal to carry HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s forthcoming service, when it launches later this month.
The Apple integration of Peacock will offer viewers a “seamless watching experience across Apple devices,” according to the official announcement. In addition to content discovery, the billing and account tracking that will be vital to new direct-to-consumer streaming efforts will be enabled.
“Our priority is to bring Peacock’s unrivaled collection of content to people across major distributors and device platforms,” NBCU content distribution chairman Matt Bond said. “We look forward to bringing Peacock to Apple customers when we launch around the U.S. in July, capitalizing on Apple’s incredible reach and connecting with millions of viewers across their devices.”
Maggie McLean Suniewick, president of business development and partnerships for Peacock, called Apple a “key launch platform” for the service. Business Development and Partnerships, Peacock
“Across NBCUniversal, millions of fans are consuming our content on Apple devices every day and we are thrilled to be introducing Peacock to those audiences,” she said.
Peacock’s national expansion in July will cap an unprecedented period since last fall when five new players have hit the market with billion-dollar competitors to Netflix. Apple and Disney debuted direct-to-consumer services last November and HBO Max and well-funded mobile startup Quibi are following this spring.
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