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Comcast Launches Peacock TV With Plenty to Watch for Free

(Reuters) – Comcast-owned NBCUniversal entered a crowded streaming market today by launching its Peacock streaming service nationally, offering 20,000 hours of content, including NBC shows such as “30 Rock,” “Cheers” and “Saturday Night Live.”

The service, which became available to some Comcast subscribers in April, is the media giant’s effort to offset declines in Comcast’s cable TV business – while finding a new way to monetize NBC and Universal content and maintain demand for the company’s broadband business, which powers streaming services.

Peacock will include a mix of NBC series, sports, news and original shows – such as the dystopian drama “Brave New World” and documentary “In Deep with Ryan Lochte” – as well as content it licenses from ViacomCBS and other networks and studios.

The service will also be available on Sony’s PlayStation 4 gaming console from July 20, Peacock said on Tuesday.

Unlike the majority of its streaming rivals, Peacock is offering a free, ad-supported version, which will include 13,000 hours of programming. NBCUniversal hopes to lure advertisers through the vast amounts of data it can use to target commercials based on viewers’ interests, including data from Comcast’s cable TV set-top boxes.

Peacock also has two paid options: a $4.99 per month service with commercials and 20,000 hours of programming; and an ad-free version costing $9.99 per month.

NBCUniversal missed the opportunity to market Peacock during its broadcast of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which were postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. And as the last entry to the streaming war, Peacock will be competing for streaming dollars with services such as Netflix, Walt Disney-owned Disney+ and Amazon.com’s Amazon Prime Video.

But Peacock’s free option could be a draw for viewers who have already maxed out their monthly entertainment budgets, at a time when U.S. viewers stuck at home are hungry for more content.

Comcast/NBC’s Peacock Launches This Spring – Free for Comcast & Cox Video Customers

Comcast video customers will be the first to get Comcast/NBCUniversal’s new streaming platform, dubbed “Peacock,” featuring over 400 TV series and 600 movies, mostly from the library of Universal Studios, beginning this spring.

“This is a very exciting time for our company, as we chart the future of entertainment,” NBCUniversal chairman Steve Burke said at an event this afternoon announcing details about the service to Comcast’s investors. “We have one of the most enviable collections of media brands and the strongest ad sales track record in the business. Capitalizing on these key strengths, we are taking a unique approach to streaming that brings value to customers, advertisers and shareholders.”

Peacock will feature multiple tiers of service, at least two available for free:

  • Peacock Free: This ad-supported tier (promised to include only five minutes of ads per hour) will be available to all and will feature about half of Peacock’s content library (7,500 hours). Similar to Hulu’s basic service, this free tier will offer next-day access to currently airing NBC TV series, entire seasons of selected older shows, selected movies, news, and sports programming. Some of Peacock’s original series will also be available on the free tier, along with a selection of clips and shows highlighting NBC content like Saturday Night Live, Family Movie Night, and the Olympics.
  • Peacock for Authenticated TV Subscribers (free): If you are a current Comcast or Cox cable TV subscriber, you can get Peacock’s Premium offering with a complete selection of Peacock content at no charge. This tier offers 15,000 hours of live/on-demand content, but has advertising. You can get rid of the ads by paying an extra $5 a month.
  • Peacock Premium: If you are a cord-cutter or do not subscribe to a TV package with a Comcast-partnered provider, you can subscribe directly to Peacock’s premium, ad-free version for $10 a month. This unlocks the complete lineup of Peacock content.

NBCUniversal officials also used today’s event to announce more original programming deals beyond those already announced, including new original comedies from Tina Fey, Sky Studios, Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler. Almost all of Dick Wolf’s ubiquitous Law & Order (and its various spinoff series) will also be available for streaming, as will his current roster of Chicago-based series Fire, P.D., and Med. Peacock Premium customers will also be able to stream NBC’s late-night shows before they air on NBC. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will be available as early as 8 p.m. ET and Late Night with Seth Meyers will be available by 9 p.m.

Peacock will enter a very crowded field of streaming services, and is the last previously announced streaming service to launch, likely shortly after AT&T launches HBO Max. The fact there will be a free version may make the service more palatable to consumers weary of subscribing to yet another paid streaming service, on top of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and a range of specialty streaming services featuring international programming, sports, movies, and documentaries.

Comcast NBC to Launch “Peacock” Streaming Service Next April; Free to Comcast Cable TV Subscribers

Phillip Dampier September 17, 2019 Comcast/Xfinity, Competition, Consumer News, Online Video, Peacock No Comments

Comcast is planning to debut its new streaming TV platform under the NBC “Peacock” brand next April with a lineup of original shows starring well-known talent including Alec Baldwin, Demi Moore, Christian Slater, and Ed Helms.

Peacock will most closely resemble the advertiser-supported Hulu platform, with 21 million Comcast cable television customers getting access for free. Comcast is reportedly also negotiating with other cable, satellite, and telco TV providers about bundling free basic Peacock subscriptions for their cable TV customers as well. Those who never subscribed to cable TV or cut the cord will be offered the option of a lower cost, commercial-filled subscription or a more expensive ad-free option, presumably at prices similar to what Hulu charges ($5.99-11.99).

Peacock’s subscription model is designed to protect Comcast’s cable TV revenue. For existing Comcast cable TV customers, giving ad-supported subscriptions away for free may add to the value proposition of keeping a cable TV subscription. By charging subscription fees to everyone else, Comcast is not ‘giving away the store for free.’ If it did, it could upset other pay television companies that are facing ever-rising retransmission consent fees and programming costs for Comcast/NBC-owned TV stations and cable networks including CNBC, MSNBC, and the USA Network.

Comcast is confident its long experience offering streaming TV Everywhere services including live streaming and on demand programming will mean it will not face the kinds of scaling mistakes other streaming services have had. Bonnie Hammer, the NBCUniversal executive appointed to run Peacock, believes the service’s deep content catalog, starting with 15,000 hours of NBC and Universal Studios TV shows and movies complimented with other acquired and original productions will give viewers plenty to watch.

“I’m not sure anybody else out there can do what we can do,” Hammer told the Wall Street Journal. “We expect to have great content and a great product [that] is really easy to use.”

In addition to scripted content, Peacock will also feature live and recorded news and sports programming from NBC.

Among the shows featured on the Peacock platform:

Original Drama Series

ANGELYNE (limited series)
Limited series based on The Hollywood Reporter feature that explored the identity of L.A.’s mysterious billboard bombshell.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
Battlestar Galactica reboot.

BRAVE NEW WORLD
Based on Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel, Brave New World. The series envisions life in a utopian society that bans monogamy, privacy, money, and never discusses history.

DR. DEATH
Inspired by a podcast by the same name. Dr. Death follows the true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch (played by Jamie Dornan), a rising star in the Dallas medical community who also emerges as a deadly sociopath. Duntsch’s successful neurosurgery practice gradually deteriorates into a horror show of permanently disabled or dead patients. Two fellow doctors, played by Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater, fight an entrenched medical bureaucracy designed to protect money-making doctors to get his practice shut down.

ONE OF US IS LYING (pilot)
Based on the novel One of Us Is Lying, the crime series follows the unfolding of events after five people spend an afternoon in detention, but only four leave alive.

UNTITLED REAL HOUSEWIVES SPINOFF (no details provided)

Original Comedy Series

A.P. BIO (Season 3)
Picks up where the original NBC TV series left off. When disgraced Harvard philosophy professor Jack Griffin (Glenn Howerton) loses out on his dream job to his rival Miles Leonard (Tom Bennett), he is forced to return to the small town Toledo, Ohio and work as an advanced placement biology teacher at the fictional Whitlock High School. Jack makes it clear to his class that he will not be teaching any biology. Realising he has a room full of honor-roll students at his disposal, Jack decides to use them for his own benefit: getting revenge on Miles. Eager to prove that he is still king of the castle, Principal Durbin (Patton Oswalt) struggles to keep Griffin under control.

PUNKY BREWSTER (pilot)
This continues of the iconic 80s sitcom about a bright young girl raised by a foster dad features Punky as a now single mother of three trying to get her life back on track when she meets a young girl who reminds her a lot of her younger self.

RUTHERFORD FALLS
A small town in upstate New York is turned upside down when local legend and town namesake, Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms) fights the moving of a historical statue.

SAVED BY THE BELL (reboot)
When California governor Zack Morris gets into hot water for closing too many low-income high schools, he proposes they send the affected students to the highest performing schools in the state – including Bayside High. The influx of new students gives the over-privileged Bayside kids a reality check.

STRAIGHT TALK
Straight Talk examines what happens when two opposing ideologies are forced into an odd coupling. The main characters will be challenged by one another, making the moral lines at which they once stood harder to define.

Original Unscripted Shows 

THE AMBER RUFFIN SHOW
A weekly show featuring Amber’s “signature smart-and-silly take on the week.” The show will de-emphasize talking with guests and spend more time on comedy routines.

WHO WROTE THAT
A docuseries designed to showcase Saturday Night Live’s comedy writers.

Original Made-for-Peacock TV Movie

PSYCH 2: LASSIE COME HOME
Based on the USA Network show Psych, Santa Barbara Police Chief Carlton Lassiter is ambushed on the job and left for dead. In a vintage Psych-style Hitchcockian nod, he begins to see impossible happenings around his recovery clinic. Shawn and Gus return to Lassie’s side in Santa Barbara and are forced to navigate the personal, the professional, and possibly the supernatural. Separated from their new lives in San Francisco, our heroes find themselves unwelcome in their old stomping grounds as they secretly untangle a twisted case without the benefit of the police, their loved ones, or the quality sourdough bakeries of the Bay Area. What they uncover will change the course of their relationships forever.

Legacy Shows in the Peacock Catalog

Bates Motel
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Cheers
Chrisley Knows Best
Covert Affairs
Downton Abbey
Everybody Loves Raymond
Frasier
Friday Night Lights
House
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
The King of Queens
Married … with Children
Monk
Parks and Recreation (exclusive, available Oct. 2020)
Parenthood
The Office (exclusive, available Jan. 2021)
Psych
The Real Housewives
Royal Pains
Saturday Night Live
Superstore
30 Rock
Top Chef
Will & Grace
100 Dias Para Volver (Spanish-language)
Betty in NY (Spanish-language)
El Barón (Spanish-language)
Preso No. 1 (Spanish-language)

Peacock’s Legacy Movies Catalog

American Pie
Back to the Future
A Beautiful Mind
Bourne franchise
The Breakfast Club
Bridesmaids
Brokeback Mountain
Casino
Dallas Buyers Club
Despicable Me franchise
Do the Right Thing
Erin Brockovich
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Fast & Furious
Field of Dreams
Jaws
Knocked Up
Mamma Mia!
Meet the Fockers
Meet the Parents
Shrek

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