CEO Jeff Shell: Premium Content Going to Peacock AVOD

As ad-supported VOD platforms proliferate in response to SVOD market domination by Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, the distribution channel, which includes The Roku Channel, IMDb TV, Pluto TV, Shout! Factory TV and Tubi, has been dogged by a dearth of higher profile content.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service, which launched in July as the market’s first hybrid SVOD/AVOD business model, is looking to change that. The free ad-supported VOD option is targeting original content, including live sports such as the U.K.’s Premier League soccer from the U.K. to entice viewers, according to CEO Jeff Shell.

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Speaking Dec. 8 on the virtual UBS Global Investor confab, Shell said making the free AVOD Peacock service “as strong as possible” in programming is the company’s primary goal in the short term.

Jeff Shell

“We want viewer penetration, so we will offer the vast majority of our strong programming on the AVOD service to continue this momentum we are seeing in distribution,” Shell said, adding that as Peacock SVOD subscriptions increase, the optionality for distribution increases.

“There are many people signing up for premium Peacock to get specific niche programming that we’re not offering on the AVOD service,” he said. “And I think we’ll continue to do that, especially since [SVOD sub growth] has been stronger than we expected.”

Shell disclosed that the Peacock SVOD service generated 26 million subs through Dec. 7 — up 4 million subs since Comcast’s fiscal call last month. He said the service is being considered for selective international markets, which would not include regions such as the U.K., Germany and Italy already covered by sister satellite TV company Sky.

“Peacock is a product we will use selectively in markets,” Shell said. “The original programming we’re making for Peacock will obviously be shown and used on Sky services as well.”

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