On Wednesday, Comcast/NBCUniversal will become the latest media-tech company to try to launch a major new streaming service into a profoundly disrupted pandemic market.
Very much like AT&T/WarnerMedia, which hoisted HBO Max back on May 27, Peacock will launch nationally at a time when streaming video usage is really high, but the ability to produce original content is limited. Also like HBO Max, Peacock will debut without app support on the two most popular connected TV platforms, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. (No deals had been announced by press time.)
Peacock will be sold in two main iterations: a limited free-to-consumer tier with 13,000 hours of shows, and a $4.99-a-month subscription tier that touts 20,000 hours of programming. There’s also a $9.99-a-month paid plan for those who don’t want any ads at all.
The paid premium version of the service has been available at no extra charge since mid-April on Comcast’s X1 and Xfinity Flex video services. But the national rollout will make the service available to everyone over the open internet to anyone with a broadband connection and the right device.
Starting Wednesday, the service will be available on Google gadgets—Android mobile devices; Android TV-powered smart TVs, set-tops, dongles and streaming sticks; Chromecast dongles and streaming sticks; and Chromebook computers. Apple’s iPhone, iPads and Apple TVs will also support Peacock, as will Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming consoles, and Vizio and LG smart TVs.
Peacock just announced app support on PlayStation 4 gaming consoles, starting July 20.
And in addition to Comcast X1 and Flex video systems, Cox Communications's licensed version of X1, Contour, will also support native integration of Peacock.
Comcast has pledged to spend $2 billion through 2021 getting Peacock off the ground. And its stated subscriber goal is to have 30 million - 35 million regular users by 2024.
Like other streaming services, Comcast has had to curtail its original content ambitions for Peacock’s launch amid productions shutdowns.
Peacock will offer more than 20,000 hours of premium content from networks and studios including NBC, Bravo, USA Network, SYFY, Oxygen, E!, CNBC, MSNBC, NBCSN, Golf Channel, Universal Kids, A&E, ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, HISTORY, Nickelodeon, Showtime, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks, Focus Features, Illumination, ViacomCBS, Paramount, Lionsgate, Warner Bros. and Blumhouse. In addition, the service will feature Peacock Original movies and shows; more than 30 curated channels; current season series and specials from NBC and Telemundo; live news and sports; as well as daily trending highlights from TODAY, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, Noticias Telemundo, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports, E! Newsand Access Hollywood.
Anticipated new shows, including a Friends reunion special, were pushed back amid the pandemic. But Peacock is promoting 10 original shows, including a new adaptation of Aldous Huxley's seminal dystopian novel classic, Brave New World, a reboot of the popular SyFy series Psych, and a docu-series hosted by Dale Earnhardt Jr. visiting the ancient ruins of old NASCAR tracks.
Peacock has also figured out a way to make sports happen, turning to the UK, where the pandemic is under control and Premier League soccer looks poised to move forward with its 2020-21 season starting in September.
With Premier League rights locked up through Comcast’s Sky unit, Peacock will have exclusive U.S. streaming rights to more than 175 matches.
In fact, the fun will start on Wednesday, when Peacock will stream four Premier matches to both its free and paid tiers: Manchester City v. Bournemouth; Burnley v. Wolverhampton; Newcastle v. Tottenham; and Arsenal v. Liverpool.
“This is a historic moment for our company as we proudly introduce Peacock to consumers nationwide—a groundbreaking vision that was brought to life by an incredible team of people from across Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky,” said Matt Strauss, chairman of Peacock. “From current, classic and original movies and shows, to live news, sports, curated channels and trending content from around the world, Peacock is the only free, premium ad-supported streaming service that brings together everything consumers love about television and streaming—all in one place.”
Free Tier Highlights
Per a Peacock announcement Tuesday, Peacock's free tier will deliver more than 13,000 hours of content, including a vast library of popular movies like the The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, Tully, Phantom Thread, The Interpreter, American Psycho, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, The Blair Witch Project, The Mummy, Joe, Fletch, Fletch Lives, The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury, Fear, Psycho, Do the Right Thing, Howard the Duck, Billy Elliot, The Birds, Willie, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, The Last House On The Left, I Am Ali, In The Name of the Father, Lone Ranger, The Hitcher, Law Abiding Citizen, The Sting, What Dreams May Come, Fried Green Tomatoes, One True Thing, Gosford Park, Dracula and Dragnet.
The free tier will also offer new episodes of NBC current season series one week after they air including hits This Is Us and The Blacklist, sample episodes of Peacock Originals, and hundreds of iconic shows including comedies like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, Saved by the Bell, Punky Brewster, The Johnny Carson Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Real Husbands of Hollywood and Everybody Hates Chris; dramas like Friday Night Lights, Downton Abbey, Parenthood, Monk, Heroes, Psych, The Game, Suits, Sacred Lies, Royal Pains, Battlestar Galactica, Columbo, Hunter, The Rockford Files, Dateline, 21 Jump Street, Highlander, Leave It To Beaver, Munsters and Murder She Wrote; reality series like Below Deck, Southern Charm, Chrisley Knows Best, Botched, Flipping Out, Million Dollar Listing New York, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Real Housewives of Dallas, Jay Leno’s Garage, Shahs of Sunset and Undercover Boss; competition series like Top Chef Masters, Hell’s Kitchen, Hollywood Game Night and American Ninja Warrior Jr.; kids series including Kong, The Animated Series, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, Fievel’s American Tails and Woody Woodpecker; and Spanish-language titles like Betty en NY, I Love Jenni, Reina De Corazones, The Riveras, Preso No. 1, Caso Cerrado, El Baron, El Chema, Larrymania, Perro Amor, Mi Familia Perfecta, Quien es Quien, Victoria and Donde Esta Elisa.
Live sports in the free tier include four exclusive Premier League matches on July 15, coverage of the U.S. Open Championship and Women’s Open Championships, an NFL Wild Card Playoff Game, and select events from the upcoming Tokyo and Beijing Olympics. In addition, sports fans will enjoy on demand replays of events like Triple Crown horse races, daily highlights from NBC Sports, and hundreds of hours of sports series, documentaries and films such as Tiger Woods Chasing History, 1968, I Am Ali, Dream Team, Being Evel, Feherty, Willie, and Peacock Originals Lost Speedways and In Deep with Ryan Lochte.
Premium Tier Highlights
Peacock Premium will feature access to all 20,000 hours of programming on the platform, including everything in the free tier plus the full catalog of Peacock Originals including Brave New World, The Capture, Intelligence, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, DreamWorks Where’s Waldo?, DreamWorks Cleopatra In Space and Curious George; all library series including treasured favorites like Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond, George Lopez, Jeff Foxworthy Show, King of Queens, Superstore, Frasier, Cheers, House, The Affair, Yellowstone, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Ray Donovan, Swedish Dicks and American Ninja Warrior; kids series including DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk, Care Bears and Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot; and the entire movie collection including unforgettable titles like Shrek, Lone Survivor, Ted, Identity Thief, Children of Men, Charlie Wilson’s War, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Frankenstein, Kicking and Screaming, Larry Crowne, and You, Me & Dupree.
The premium tier will also provide earlier access to programming, such as next-day access to new episodes of current season NBC shows including America’s Got Talent, Blindspot, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, A Little Late with Lilly Singh, Saturday Night Live, Superstore, Law & Order: SVU, Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, New Amsterdam, Manifest, The Titan Games, Hollywood Game Night, World of Dance, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Access Hollywood, Days of Our Lives, Dateline, NBC Nightly Newsand Meet the Press, and Telemundo series including 100 Días Para Enamorarnos, Celia, Cennet, Enemigo Intimo, La Doña, Minuto Para Ganar and Noticias Telemundo. Exclusive access to Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 8:00 pm ET will only be available on Peacock Premium when the shows return to in-studio production.
Peacock Premium will also feature access to a growing catalog of live and on demand sports programming, including more than 175 exclusive Premier League matches for the 2020-2021 season; coverage of elite cycling events like the Tour De France from August 29 – September 20, and La Vuelta from October 20 – November 8; and more than 100 hours of WWE content coming in August including series WWE Untold andSteve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions, and compilations like John Cena’s Best WrestleMania Matches.
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!
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below.
Thank you for signing up to Broadcasting & Cable. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.