Nearly one year after NBCUniversal’s Peacock was first introduced on Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex devices, and nine months after it rolled out nationwide, the Peacock app still isn’t supported by Amazon Firestick and other Amazon Fire TV gadgets.
As the impasse with Amazon, the No. 2 provider of OTT devices behind Roku, drags on, Peacock reps have 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 has been 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, have not elaborated 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.
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