More than one year after NBCUniversal’s Peacock was first introduced on Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex devices, and 11 months after it rolled out nationwide, the Peacock app will finally be supported by Amazon Firestick and other Amazon Fire TV gadgets, starting Thursday, June 24.
“We look forward to building on our existing partnership with Fire TV’s millions of customers and offering them Peacock’s undeniable line-up of original, library and film content,” said Matt Bond, chairman of content distribution for NBCU, in a statement. “This marks another great step in reaching audiences everywhere with the breadth of NBCUniversal’s full entertainment, film, Hispanic, news and sports portfolio.”
Amazon says it has more than 50 million active users for its Fire TV streaming sticks, players, tablets, smart speakers, smart TVs and other enabled devices, ranking it alongside Roku as one of the two top operating systems for watching streamding video in the U.S.
NBCU said it had 42 million signups for Peacock as of the end of the first quarter, but actual active users for the service, which combines free, ad-supported iterations with commercial-free subscription versions, are reportedly well under 20 million.
Gaining access to Fire TV will help.
Added Daniel Rausch, VP of Amazon Entertainment Devices and Services: “Peacock has built an engaging streaming library that we know Fire TV customers will enjoy. By pairing Peacock with Fire TV, our joint customers will be able to use Alexa and personalized recommendations to rediscover some of the world’s most-loved sitcoms, watch all-new shows like Girls5Eva, and follow Olympic highlights – all from one service. Alexa, watch Peacock.”
Amazon hinted Tuesday that an end to the lengthy impasse could be at hand. Amazon's Twitter handle for its connected TV gadget ecosystem published a somewhat cryptic tweet Tuesday, suggesting an announcement for Fire TV support of Peacock is coming today.
The setting for this tweeted image of a Fire TV remote inside a bowl of Jello seems to be Peacock's most popular show, The Office.
The possible move comes as NBCUniversal announced Wednesday that major events from next month's Tokyo Olympics will be streamed live on Peacock.
Several months ago, as the impasse with Amazon, the No. 2 provider of OTT devices behind Roku, slogged on, Peacock reps started to overtly advise customers to “side-load” the Peacock app onto Amazon Fire TV—a task that’s actually not so technically complicated, given Fire TV’s underpinning in Google’s Android TV operating system. (Techhive has instructions on how to perform this task.)
This communication between Peacock and its customers was accentuated amid the debut of WWE pro wrestling-related programming on Peacock this month
“Thanks for reaching out! We understand your frustration,” NBCU is telling customers through its @peacocktv Twitter handle. “While Peacock currently isn’t supported on Amazon devices, there are side loading options that customers have found helpful.”
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted at an investor event earlier in March that his company’s NBCU division might be getting close to hammering out an agreement with Amazon for support of Peacock on Fire TV.
Comcast and NBCU, along with Amazon, didn't elaborate on their negotiating hangups. But they reportedly center on NBCU’s desire not to have Peacock disaggregated within Amazon Prime Video Channels. NBCU wants to distribute Peacock as a standalone app, controlling the customer relationship and all the data itself.
Advising customers on unofficial workarounds might not necessarily convey desperation on behalf of Peacock and NBCU, but it could bely concern and frustration.
With reports circulating last month that the streaming service only has around 11.3 million regular users, and NBCU constrained on what it can spend on splashy content relative to competitors with deeper pockets, Peacock appears anxious to goose its usage metrics.
Certainly, making itself available to Fire TV living rooms would help. Just look at HBO Max, which has grown from 8.6 million customers to more than 17.2 million since gaining access to both Amazon Fire TV and Roku late last year.
Thanks to its relationships with TCL and Hisense, which use its OS to power most of the smart TVs they sell worldwide, Roku is the fastest growing OTT device ecosystem. But Amazon actually sells more Fire TV players, sticks and dongles these days, starting with the low-priced Firestick HMDI gadget. In fact, Amazon shipped 13.2 million Fire TV devices worldwide in the fourth quarter, controlling more than 12% of the OTT device market, according to Strategy Analytics.
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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