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NBCU lifts lid on freemium Peacock

NBCUniversal (NBCU) has pulled the curtain back on its forthcoming streaming service Peacock, revealing a raft of programming as well as both AVOD and SVOD options for subscribers.

At an investor presentation at NBCU’s New York offices yesterday, NBCU said Peacock would be available as a free ad-supported service with subscription tiers, offering more than 600 movies and 400 series, as well as live and on-demand content across news, sports, late night and reality.

Preparing for take-off

The service, which has already ordered a raft of new shows and snatched back rights to series including Amy Poehler comedy Parks And Recreation from Netflix in preparation for launch, is set to become available to US subscribers from 15 April. It will initially be accessible to customers of US telco and NBCU parent, Comcast.

Steve Burke

Peacock will then debut nationally on 15 July, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, to which NBCU owns coverage rights. The media giant is targeting 30-35 million active accounts by 2024, although a large proportion of those will be derived from a bundling agreement between NBCU and telco duo Comcast and Cox, which will carry the service and account for 24 million subscribers combined.

NBCU said it would offer content ranging from “world-class originals and treasured hits, to blockbuster films and streaming channels,” offering “everything fans love to watch, all in one place.”

Free or not so free

Markedly different from many of its rivals such as HBO Max and Netflix, NBCU is employing a multi-tiered approach to pricing, a tactic that was first mooted last year.

  • Peacock Free – ad-supported option, offering ~7,500 hours of programming, including next day access to current seasons of newly broadcast series as well as “classic” shows, movies, daily news and sports including the Olympics. Curated Peacock streaming channels such as SNL Vault, Family Movie Night and Olympic Profiles also included
  • Peacock Premium: Bundled at no additional cost to 24 million Comcast and Cox subscribers, this ad-supported option will offer 15,000 hours of content. This includes Peacock originals and tent-pole series, next day access to current seasons of returning broadcast series, early access to late night talk shows, and additional sports, such as the UK’s Premier League. Available for $4.99 per month for non-bundled customers
  • Premium: Existing customers can then upgrade to an ad-free version for an additional $5.00 per month, or any customer can purchase the ad-free experience directly for $9.99 per month

Steve Burke, chairman of NBCU, said the streamer would “capitalise” on its key strengths “of having have one of the most enviable collections of media brands and the strongest ad sales track record in the business.”

Matt Strauss, chairman of Peacock and NBCU digital enterprises, added that “by delivering timely and topical content like breaking news, live sports, and watercooler moments from late night, Peacock is uniquely bringing a pulse to the world of streaming that does not exist in today’s marketplace.”

Building on acquisitions

Law And Order

Peacock has taken rights to a swathe of NBCU’s juggernaut brands, including Law And Order, Law And Order: SVU, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. from Dick Wolf’s Wolf Entertainment. Some of those shows are currently available on services such as Hulu, with US reports suggesting the deal is non-exclusive, allowing others to also offer the hit content. Peacock will also offer Paramount Network’s drama Yellowstone, which has been licensed from ViacomCBS.

Other third party deals see Peacock picking up Two And A Half Men and The George Lopez Show from Warner Bros., which will join previously announced deals for NBC and classic TV series such as 30 Rock, Bates Motel, Battlestar Galactica, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Cheers.

The US version of The Office, Chrisley Knows Best, Downton Abbey, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier and Keeping Up With The Kardashians will also be included.

Original thinking

Peacock also unveiled originals yesterday, including Tina Fey-produced series Girls5Eva, about a one-hit-wonder girl group from the 1990’s that reunites to give their pop star dreams one more shot. It is also adding international series to its ‘originals’ strand, including NBCU International Studios’ thriller The Capture, which debuted on the BBC in the UK, and Channel 4’s comedy Lady Parts.

The Capture

Sky Studios’ trio Intelligence, Code 404 and Hitmen will also be added, as well as a behind-the-scenes documentary series that follows the US basketball team ahead of the Olympics.

Peacock also unveiled a multi-year partnership with Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud network, which includes an equity investment in the company, a first look deal with LOL, and the distribution of LOL’s catalog on the service. As part of the agreement, Laugh Out Loud will produce a Kevin Hart stand-up comedy special and an original interview series called Hart To Heart, and a series of short-form content exclusively for Peacock.

Previously announced originals include comedies such as Rutherford Falls and the reboot of Saved By The Bell, plus the movie spin-off Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, and dramas including Dr. Death, Battlestar Galactica, Brave New World and Armas De Mujer.

Not so late night

NBCU has also decided for the first time to offer viewers exclusive early access to NBC’s late night shows, with the broadcast network’s talkers The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night With Seth Meyers becoming available from 20.00 and 21.00ET respectively. The early access will only be available to Peacock Premium subscribers.

Sporting chance

Peacock is also relying on sports coverage to tempt in subs, with live coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies at the Tokyo Olympics before they air on NBC in primetime. Three daily Olympic shows are in the works, while from August, subscribers will be able to access 2,000 hours of Premier League coverage, including more than 140 matches that aren’t available currently on TV.

The Ryder Cup golf tournament will also be coming to the service in September, with featured groups of Europe’s and America’s best pairings.

Featured viewing

Fast & Furious 9

Peacock has also taken exclusive streaming rights to the 2020 Universal film slate and beyond in the network window, allowing it to offer classic features including Fast & Furious 9 and Jurassic World 3. Universal had previously had a deal with FX Networks, which will now come to an end.

Other library film content on offer includes American Pie, Bridesmaids, Knocked Up, Meet The Parents, Meet The Fockers, A Beautiful Mind and Back To The Future, as well as Casino, Dallas Buyers Club, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Jaws and Mamma Mia!. Franchises including Bourne and Fast & Furious will also be offered.

Calling for kids

Curious George

Peacock will have access to the first pay window for NBCU-owned DreamWorks Animation films Trolls World Tour, The Boss Baby 2 and The Croods 2. It will also be the exclusive streaming home to new episodes of animation Curious George and offer original series from DreamWorks, plus TrollsTopia, Madagascar: A Little Wild, The Mighty Ones, Cleopatra In Space and Where’s Waldo?.

Additionally, family film titles from DreamWorks, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Kids will be available including Shrek, Shark Tale and Despicable Me.

Not forgetting news

Peacock will be home to live breaking news coverage, including newly launched streaming network NBC News NOW and NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt.

Original videos from across the NBC News portfolio will be offered, with an original offering from Meet The Press With Chuck Todd on Peacock each weekday. NBC News will also create original documentaries for Peacock, which the company said would “delve deeply into politics, biographies and history.”

Peacock will also be home to full episodes of crime show Dateline and international news, building on a newly forged collaboration with UK-based Sky, which is owned by NBCU parent Comcast.