Comcast announces Peacock streaming service details

On Thursday, Comcast and NBCUniversal announced details about its new streaming service, Peacock. Thoughts on this new streaming service are below.

Launch date

Peacock will launch on April 15 for Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex customers, and on July 15 for everyone. Deadline notes the timing’s just before the July 24 opening of the 2020 Summer Olympics (which NBC has unfortunately locked down exclusive rights for until 2032).

Cost

Comcast/Xfinity van
Photo by Mike Mozart (Flickr / CC BY)

Similar to the early version of Hulu (or Comcast’s cable TV side of things), there’ll be several tiers available:

  • Peacock Free, a free ad-supported tier with limited programming available for everyone.
  • A complete version of Peacock (Peacock Premium) that’s free for Comcast and Cox cable customers, and $5/month for everyone else.
  • An ad-free version of Premium that costs $5/month for Comcast/Cox customers and $10/month for everyone else.

I do wonder if the free Peacock Premium service applies only to certain Comcast cable TV subscribers, or is available for anyone paying for Comcast service?  Examples of the latter include broadband-only subscribers and those only subscribing to the over-the-air lineup of channels (which is what I have).

I also assume Comcast will be pulling NBC/Universal material from other services, particularly the now-Disney-controlled Hulu. Which makes me wonder what the future of Hulu will look like with less of one major media conglomerate’s material.

Programming

The Boss Baby posterComcast’s relying on its existing cable, NBC, and Universal services/libraries to shore up Peacock. Deadline has a full list of what’s coming to Peacock at launch.

Among the programming highlights:

  • The 2020 Summer Olympics will stream the opening and closing ceremonies live through Peacock, while still only airing a tape-delayed version on NBC in primetime. (No word on whether this is on the paid or free tier.) There’s also exclusive Olympics-related programming planned.
  • Free tier subscribers will get next-day access to episodes of freshman-year NBC shows; Premium subscribers will get all shows next day, plus an “early look” at episodes of “The Tonight Show.”
  • Exclusive Premier League soccer games.
  • Exclusive streaming rights to Universal movies starting in 2020. Presumably, expect “Minions 2” and future “Fast and the Furious”/”Jurassic Park” films to turn up only on Peacock.
  • A back library of classic NBC/Universal owned movies and TV shows. Movies include “Back to the Future,” “ET,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Jaws,” and so forth. TV shows include “Cheers,” “Fraiser,” the various “Law and Order” shows, “Saturday Night Live,” “Will & Grace,” and more.
  • Animation-wise, DreamWorks plans to produce a sizable number of new animated productions for Peacock, including new shows based on “Trolls,” “Madagascar,” a revival of “Where’s Waldo?,” and “Cleopatra in Space.” There’s also plans for new episodes of “Curious George.” Fans of the upcoming DreamWorks films “Boss Baby 2” and “Trolls World Tour” will also find those streaming on Peacock.

Thoughts on Peacock

The NBC and Universal libraries of material should make the free Peacock tier fairly popular. At the free level, Peacock’s also competing with Pluto TV, Viacom’s free ad-supported streaming service.

The same likely won’t be the case for Peacock Premium. I assume Peacock’s paid tier will end up similar to CBS All Access: hardcore fans of a particular franchise (Premium League soccer, Olympics coverage, etc.) will pony up. Otherwise, I don’t see Peacock attracting a paying base beyond that. Peacock’s competing with a ton of other streaming services, many which provide attractive content at a similar price (Disney+, etc.). And of course, Peacock is a service from many people’s actual (and heavily disliked) cable company—said company already collecting a hefty amount per month from their customers already.

Do you plan to subscribe to Peacock?

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