January 16, 2020
NBC to give price, details on new Peacock streaming service
NBCUniversal is expected Thursday to unveil the price and other details of its upcoming streaming service, Peacock.
The service launches in April and will be free for customers of Comcast, NBCUniversal's parent company, though the company could announce additional cable partners whose customers would also get Peacock free. For everyone else, there's speculation the service will cost $5 to $10 a month, depending on whether the viewer wants to ditch ads. That's in line with what many rivals cost.
There is an influx of new streaming services from the country's biggest tech and entertainment companies as people increasingly turn away from watching live network TV and cut their cable subscriptions. These new offerings model themselves on Netflix: a catalog of movies and TV shows available whenever and wherever people want to watch, for a monthly fee. They'll have to fight for consumers' attention and money.
Like Hulu, in which Comcast is a silent minority owner, Peacock is expected to have different prices with and without ads. Quibi, a mobile-focused short-video streaming service that's backed by Hollywood studios, will also have both options when it launches in April.
By contrast, Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus and the upcoming HBO Max from AT&T's Warner Media don't have ads at all, though AT&T has talked about having some in the future.
All the costs for streaming services add up, and surveys suggest people don't want to subscribe to all of them, especially with many existing streaming options already, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Prices range from $5 a month (Apple TV Plus, Quibi with ads) to $15 (HBO Max). Netflix's most popular plan costs $13.
Peacock will have 15,000 hours of programming, including original content and stuff from the NBC library like "The Office," which leaves Netflix for Peacock in 2021. Not all of Peacock's content will be exclusive. Original shows will include a series based on a true-crime podcast that stars Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater. Peacock also plans to remake sci-fi favorite "Battlestar Galactica." And Michael Schur, the creator of "Parks and Recreation" and "The Good Place," is producing a comedy called "Rutherford Falls."
Media analyst Rich Greenfield said he considers Peacock a "digital version of a broadcast network," with a better consumer experience than traditional TV.
CBS All Access, launched in 2014, functions in some ways as a digital version of CBS and remains a relatively small streamer.
Greenfield said crucial decisions for NBCUniversal will be where it puts its TV shows and movies. For example, should its best series start on TV and go to Peacock, or launch right on Peacock to lure subscribers?
Comcast has said that it will invest $2 billion in Peacock in its first two years of operation, and it predicts losing money for years. It says it'll break even by the fifth year.
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