- NBCU’s Peacock soft launches premium services to Xfinity and Flex customers
- 31.5 million consumers will have access to Peacock from today
- Peacock boss says 2021 will be the year it “takes centre stage”
Comcast has launched an early preview of its premium ad-supported streaming service Peacock today for its Xfinity X1 and Flex customers at no extra cost.
Some 31.5 million of the operator’s TV and broadband customers across the US will now have access to the premium streaming service with a national launch expected to roll out on 15 July.
The preview of Peacock includes a free tier featuring more than 7,500 hours of movies and TV series that will be accessible to across mobile, web and connected TV platforms.
Comcast confirmed that Peacock premium will also be available during the soft launch, fat $4.99 per month, on all “popular connected devices” as well as an ad-free tier for an additional $5.00 per month.
NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises and Peacock chairman Matt Strauss said: “Now more than ever there is a need for a free quality streaming service that can provide viewers with both the information they need to stay informed and entertainment they seek to escape the moment.
“With Peacock, we will deliver many of the best movies and TV shows of our time — as well as timely news and topical programming — and do our part to bring people together through the power of entertainment.”
Comcast has seen a 50% increase in on-demand consumption year-over-year, and voice remote searches for free content up nearly 250% as the majority of the country is on lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Read more: Can NBCUniversal make Peacock fly?
All Peacock programming is supported by a first-of-its-kind advertising experience, featuring approximately five minutes of commercials or less per hour, a host of new ad innovations, and an group of launch sponsors.
At launch, Peacock Premium boasts more than 15,000 hours of movies and TV series, including library Parks and Recreation, Law & Order: SVU, and Two and a Half Men; while its movies will include E.T., Jurassic Park and Shrek; and exclusive early access to content from NBC’s late-night shows.
This month’s preview of Peacock includes kids’ originals, animated series Where’s Waldo? and Cleopatra in Space from DreamWorks Animation as well as new episodes of Curious George.
However, the majority of Peacock’s originals content will be delayed until 2021, given the shutdown of productions with the coronavirus pandemic, Strauss said in a call with journalists it remains “unclear” when things will resume to normal.
He added: “The majority of our original productions have been paused. This will materially limit our original slate at launch and through 2020.”
Even given the disruption of Covid-19, NBCU didn’t consider postponing the initial launch of Peacock. Strauss said: “We think this is really going to add a lot of value to people looking to get additional entertainment. Candidly, we’re even more encouraged by the demand.”
According to a report from Variety, NBCU chief executive Jeff Shell and Strauss send a memo to employees on Tuesday that said 2021 will be the year Peacock “takes centre stage,” with its original content and coverage of the Tokyo Olympics it will be “unstoppable.”
On its strategy, Strauss and Shell said: “We have said from the beginning that this is a marathon not a sprint. While we are launching with a strong array of news and entertainment offerings, much more content will be on the platform down the road, including our original productions and many more sporting events (which are delayed in the wake of Covid-19).”