Peacock Plans Less Than 5 Minutes of Ads Per Hour

The part of Peacock that will be ad supported will feature most of the ways the TV business has been looking to fix its broken commercial model, which has been turning off viewers and driving them to ad-free services.

Peacock, unveiled Thursday  by Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit at an investor meeting in New York, will have multiple tiers, some of which will have advertising. Those ad supported tiers will feature one of the lowest commercial loads on TV at less than five minutes per hour, NBCU said.

Having ads will make Peacock free in some cases and in other cases it will be cheaper to consumers than the commercial-free version. The Walt Disney Co.’s Hulu, CBS All Access are among the streaming services that already have ad-supported and ad-free versions.

In addition, the ad-supported model will feature many of the ad innovations and new formats that NBCU, under Linda Yaccarino, chairman, ad sales and partnerships, and other TV companies have been rolling out over the last few years.

NBCU has sold Peacock ad packages to a limited number of sponsors. The packages reported cost at least $10 million.

Among the clients signing up for Peacock are Eli Lilly,, State Farm, Target and Unilever.

"With Peacock, we're giving consumers the free service they want and advertisers the reach and scale they desperately need—this is the best thing to happen to everyone’s screens in a long time," said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Advertising & Partnerships at NBCUniversal. "Peacock marks a doubling-down on the ad-supported ecosystem, and the next phase of NBCUniversal’s One Platform offering. By investing in the next generation of streaming video, we are pushing the industry forward today and future-proofing it for tomorrow.”

Yaccarino said Peacock would give advertisers frequency caps to make sure viewers don’t see the same ads over and over, high video quality, brand safe premium content, data-driven insights, full-funnel metrics and attribution for brands, access to NBCU talent and creative capabilities

The things that prove successful on Peacock will show up on the entire NBCU platform, she added.

On top of that, NBCU plans to involve its ad clients in other ways, including putting them on a Peacock Streaming Council along with creators and engineers that will aim to build and test models that resonate with audiences. Peacock sponsors are also going to be promoting Peacock on their websites and in-store. Those sponsors will be featured in ads promoting Peacock. The launch of Peacock will be one of NBCU’s biggest, running across all of NBCU’s properties including the Tokyo Olympic Games.

NBCU calls its cross-promotional promotional package Symphony and the company has used it to launch brands and open movies.

"State Farm is excited to be working hand-in-hand with Peacock to help define what the modern streaming ad experience should look like. It goes beyond simply filling traditional ad space. We are striving to connect with consumers in new and interactive ways,” said Patty Morris, Marketing Assistant VP, State Farm.

“We’re thrilled to be a Peacock launch partner,” said William White, senior VP of Marketing, Target. “From its hit programming to advertising innovations, NBCUniversal offers new and exciting opportunities to connect with our guests.”

“We’re excited about Peacock’s innovative consumer platform pairing classic shows and must see original content,” said Rob Master, VP, Media and Digital Engagement, Unilever North America. “We look forward to pioneering on Peacock with our iconic brands like Dove, Hellmann’s and Talenti to bring content to viewers in a creative and engaging way.”

All of the ads on Peacock will feature some form of format innovation, some of which NBCU has already rolled out.

These include Shoppable TV, one-minute long Prime Pods, Pause Ads that appear when the viewer uses their remote to take a break, Binge Ads that let a sponsor present the fourth-consecutive episode of a show commercial-free, engagement ads that are personalized or interactive, trending ads that tie into topical content, solo ads where one marketer sponsors and entire show with a single spot, curator ads that run on the best and most appropriate programs, explore ads that put relevant content on the screen during pauses and could send messages, discounts or experience to viewers via their phones and on-command ads that use Comcast’s voice remotes to provide exclusive offers. 

"Like everything at NBCUniversal, Peacock was built around consumers—and that is especially true for the advertising experience. We've built the platform with commercial innovation at its core, so we can introduce engaging and interactive ad formats to allow consumers to better connect with both content and brands," said Krishan Bhatia, executive VP of Business Operations & Strategy, NBCUniversal. "Untethered to legacy, Peacock will provide a better experience for consumers, drive more impact for brands, and provide insights that we can scale across the entire NBCUniversal portfolio and platform."

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.