The streaming service now has access to Roku’s 43 million active accounts. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has estimated Peacock has been downloaded 15 million times but it should now get quite a few more viewers to give it a spin. Amazon Fire TV is the last major holdout on Roku, which launched in April via Comcast and nationally in July.
Among the handful of major new streaming entrants, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max remains unavailable on Roku and Amazon Fire. Tension has developed as streaming owners aiming to become true direct-to-consumer distributors find third-party tech firms looking to take control of precious viewer data and their cut of subscription revenue. Without those partnerships, though, emerging streaming services have little chance to flourish. Between them, Roku and Amazon Fire have more than 80 million customers in the U.S., a majority of the streaming market.
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Peacock has a free tier as well as a premium level costing $5 a month or $10 for an ad-free version. It has 13,000 hours of programming and has emphasized NBCU’s live programming capabilities, especially sports. Before COVID-19 altered the landscape, Peacock had been aiming to launch on the back of NBCU’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The Games have been postponed to 2021.
Last Friday, both Roku and NBCU went public with the looming threat that NBCUniversal apps could go dark on Roku as negotiations hit the rocks. Within 24 hours of those stories emerging, a deal was announced for those apps to continue and Peacock to join the platform. A central holdup in the talks concerned a split of ad inventory, of which there is a limited supply on Peacock. Roku customarily takes about 30% of partner inventory, which it often then re-sells. Advertising has been a major growth engine for Roku and a key element of many Wall Street analysts’ optimism about its prospects.
“We are excited to bring Peacock and its unrivaled catalog to millions of Americans who enjoy entertainment on their favorite Roku devices,” said Maggie McLean Suniewick, President, Business Development and Partnerships, Peacock. “Roku customers are engaged streamers and we know they’ll love access to a wide range of free and paid content.”
Tedd Cittadine, Roku’s VP of Content Acquisition, said demand for content is pushing most American households to streaming. “We’re focused on delivering the kind of high-quality news and entertainment content Roku users want and love,” he said, “and we’re excited to welcome Peacock’s world-class programming to America’s #1 TV streaming platform and help NBCUniversal build a bigger fan base through our industry-leading, audience development tools.”
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