Comcast: NBCUniversal’s Peacock Streaming Service To Have Free Option With Ads

By Amit Chowdhry ● January 18, 2020
  • NBCUniversal Peacock is going to have a free option — which will be supported by ads. These are the details.

When the NBCUniversal Peacock streaming service is released, it will have a free option and $5 per month option with ads. Peacock is going to debut for Comcast customers on April 15 followed by a broader launch in the U.S. on July 15. And eventually, Comcast will be expanding the service to more countries.

This news was revealed during a presentation to investors at Studio 8H in 30 Rockefeller Plaza — which is where the show “Saturday Night Live” is broadcast. Tina Fey is creating a series for Peacock and she appeared on stage to discuss the programming that will be available through Peacock.

The app will include current NBC programs and the company’s catalog of shows including 30 Rock, The Office, Saturday Night Live, and Cheers. Plus it will have classic movies like Jaws and Jurassic Park. Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show and Seth Meyers’ Late Night programs will be available more than 3 hours on the app before airing on traditional TV as well.

The free version of Peacock will have over 7,500 hours of programming whereas Peacock Premium will have over 15,000 hours of programming with a cost of $5 per month and include ads.

The service will be free for Comcast and Cox subscribers. And those customers can pay $5 per month for the ad-free version. Users who are not subscribers of Comcast or Cox can pay $10 per month to have an ad-free experience on Peacock.

NBCUniversal is expecting the app to reach between 30 million to 35 million users by 2024. “We believe affordability will be critical as more subscription sources are launched, leading to bigger customer bills,” said NBCUniversal Chairman Steve Burke via Reuters.

NBCUniversal Peacock will be many of the options available for streaming video content. Other options include Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and CBS All Access. And later this year, WarnerMedia is releasing HBO Max. While those options generate revenue from subscription costs, Comcast is going to offer a free option with ads.

“It is impossible to overstate the power of free,” explained Linda Yaccarino, chairman of NBCUniversal advertising and partnerships. “Zero dollars means zero barriers between advertisers and consumers.”

Peacock will have 10 ad formats, including shoppable ads. And the ads will be limited to 5 minutes or less per hour of content. Yaccarino pointed out that this is the “lightest ad load” in the industry. Target, State Farm, and Unilever are some of the early advertisers that have signed up for the service. And NBCUniversal will generate hundreds of millions of dollars from its initial ad partners.

Peacock will also have binge ads, meaning a viewer can see 3 episodes of a show and a sponsor can make the 4th episode free without ads.

To get the Peacock service off the ground, Comcast is spending $2 billion to build it up between 2020 and 2021. Comcast Chief Financial Officer Mike Cavanagh is expecting the service to break even by year five.