Peacock Gets On Roku As NBCU Avoids Blackout

(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

After some saber rattling at the deadline Friday, Comcast's NBCUniversal and Roku have reached a deal that will allow NBCU’s apps to continue to be streamed by Roku users.

The deal includes NBCU’s new streaming platform, Peacock. 

NBCU’s old deal with Roku expired. It covered NBCU’s TV Everywhere apps, but not Peacock.

Related: Roku Says Comcast is Threatening to Block Users From Streaming NBC Apps

Roku sent an email to its subscribers Friday warning that a blackout of NBCU's TV Everywhere apps was imminent. Sources said NBCU was prepared to block Roku users starting Saturday, ahead of football, hockey and golf action.

Related: HBO Max Launches Without App Support for Roku and Amazon Fire TV

The two sides clashed over ad inventory on Peacock and how the ad tech systems of the two companies would work together. 

Usually, when it carries a free-to-consumer, ad-support app, Roku gets about 30% of the ad inventory.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Comcast that will bring Peacock to Roku customers and maintains access to NBCU’s TV Everywhere apps," Roku said in a statement. "We look forward to offering these new options to consumers under an expanded, mutually beneficial relationship between our companies that includes adding NBC content to The Roku Channel and a meaningful partnership around advertising.”

Added NBCU: "We are pleased Roku recognizes the value in making NBCUniversal’s incredible family of apps and programming, including Peacock, available to all of their users across the country. More than 15 million people signed up for Peacock since its national launch in July and we are thrilled millions more will now be able to access and enjoy Peacock along with other NBCUniversal apps on their favorite Roku devices. Roku’s incredible reach will not only help us ensure Peacock is available to our fans wherever they consume video but continue to expand NBCUniversal’s unrivaled digital presence across platforms.”-

Peacock rolled out nationally July 15 in both free, ad-supported and premium subscription iterations. But like HBO Max, the streaming app that debuted about a month and a half previous, Peacock lacked distribution on the biggest two connected TV device platforms, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. 

Speaking to investors earlier this week, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said Peacock had attracted around 15 million active users across its free and subscription platforms. Most of that distribution, however, has come through Comcast's own pay TV platforms, X1 and Xfinity Flex, which have enjoyed native integration of Peacock since mid-April. 

Expanding Peacock's support to Roku opens the app up to an additional 43 million active users. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.