All of the major media companies are heading down the direct-to-consumer path. One of the new streaming services that will launch this year is NBCUniversal’s Peacock. Here’s what you need to know about Peacock.
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How Did Peacock Get Started?
NBCUniversal hasn’t had a great track record in the streaming business. It launched SeeSo, a comedy-centric streaming service, in 2017 only to shutter it a year later. The media company partnered with Fox to create Hulu only to see the on-demand service swallowed up by Disney.
Over the same period, CBS saw some success with its own streaming service CBS All Access. Netflix and Amazon became major competitors through the production of original content. And Disney began grabbing headlines with what is now known as Disney+.
In January 2019, NBCUniversal executives announced that they would create their own direct-to-consumer streaming service. “We’re going to unite the whole company behind it,” NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke explained to Variety at the time.
Besides the NBC broadcast network as well as NBC’s sports and news operation, NBCUniversal owns CNBC, MSNBC, Syfy, USA Network, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, Universal Kids, Telemundo, NBCUniverso and TeleXitos.
In addition to Universal Pictures, the media giant owns Dreamworks, Amblin Entertainment, Illumination and other film studios.
Where Will Peacock be Available?
At launch, Peacock will be available in the United States. However, the company has global ambitions. Parent company Comcast’s purchase of European pay-TV provider Sky gave the company the infrastructure to develop a global streaming business.
Who Will Peacock be For?
NBCUniversal intends Peacock to have the same broad appeal as NBC. The company is using an ad-supported model and will need a large, demographically diverse audience to generate ad revenue. In addition, Peacock will attract customers by offering free, ad-supported access to some of its content. A Peacock Premium plan will unlock all of the ad-supported content and a Peacock Premium+ plan will remove advertising.
Since Comcast owns both NBCUniversal and the Xfinity cable and broadband service, Xfinity customers are the first to get access to Peacock. The ad-supported Peacock Premium subscription plan is a free feature of an Xfinity broadband subscription. However, it will only work with an Xfinity device such as the X1 cable gateway or the Flex streaming box.
What Kind of Content is on Peacock?
Content from all of the NBCUniversal TV and film operations — as well as original programming — will find its way into the Peacock content library. You will find TV shows going back to the 1950s as well as programming from Syfy and other NBCUniversal-owned cable channels. However, some classic NBC shows like Cheers were actually produced by CBS-owned Paramount so don’t appear on Peacock.
NBC’s news and sports operations are heavily featured. Peacock planned to make the 2020 Summer Olympics and the US Presidential Election centerpieces of the streaming service’s value proposition, but the impacts of COVID-19 may force changes.