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NBCU plans to add user profiles and offline viewing for Peacock

NBCUniversal has promised to add user profiles and downloads for offline viewing to its recently launched Peacock streamer.

While the service has only been live for a few days, NBCU has confirmed that it is working on a number of features including user profiles – commonplace in other streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max – and downloadable programming for top-tier paying users.

Peacock launched on July 15 with free and premium tiers that offer 13,000 and 20,000 hours of content respectively. The ad-supported US$4.99 and ad-free US$9.99 premium tiers also offer live sports including 175 exclusive English Premier League football matches from the 2020-21 season, the US Open golf championship, Ryder Cup tennis, the Tokyo and Beijing Olympics and an NFL Wild Card Game.

The company said that the download feature will only be made available for US$9.99 subscribers, likely due to the difficulty of integrating ads into offline content. This is not unusual though – neither of Hulu and CBS All Access offer offline viewing for ad-supported users.

Addressable advertising is the primary drive of the service – as evidenced from 30 Rock: A One-Time Special, a reunion episode of the iconic Tina Fey sitcom which was made during lockdown from the actors’ homes. The episode is effectively an advert for the service, and part of it is a wry sales pitch to advertisers which touts the highly targeted nature of the technology driving its ad formats.

Neither feature has a clear timeline, but NBCU will want to implement these features in a short manner to put Peacock on a par with its rivals.

NBCU has a target of reaching between 30-35 million active users by 2024, with it already giving free access to the lower premium tier to Xfinity subscribers (the pay TV offering of parent company Comcast).

Sensor Tower said that the app was the most downloaded free app on iPhone on the day of launch and number two on iPad. The launch was however disrupted by a technical error which meant that the Peacock app did not show up in search results on Google’s Play Store for Android and Android TV devices.