NBCUniversal’s ‘Hayu’ Reality TV SVOD Service Expands to 11 European Countries

The Kardashians may have ended their primetime TV gig in the United States, but the celebrity clan is helping drive foreign expansion of NBCUniversal’s “Hayu” SVOD service showcasing reality television.

NBCUniversal International Feb. 18 announced expansion of the subscription streaming service to 11 European countries, including Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Switzerland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The $5.99 monthly SVOD service first launched in 2016 in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia, followed by Germany and Austria.

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Hayu features more than 8,000 episodes of reality TV programming, including all seasons of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the franchise’s spin-offs, in addition other franchises such as “The Real Housewives,” “Below Deck” and “Million Dollar Listing”.

“As Hayu prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary, we are thrilled to [extend] the service to 27 territories worldwide,” managing director Hendrik McDermott said in a statement. “As the premiere destination for world-renowned reality TV content, this multi-territory expansion continues to deliver on our goal of bringing the best reality TV to even more super fans of the genre.”


NBCUniversal Announces Black History Month Curated Content

In celebration of Black History Month, NBCUniversal’s content distribution team Feb. 4 announced a list of television shows and movies featuring prominent African-American actors and stories for distribution partners across network, affiliation, streaming and pay-TV to include in their Black History Month campaigns. The NBCUniversal titles below will be featured for the entire month of February, unless otherwise noted.

Previously, NBCUniversal launched custom curated playlists with partners in honor of June’s Pride Month with Captain Sandy’s Pride Playlist highlighting LGBTQIA+ content on Bravo, as well as custom curations for a social justice playlist, and special destinations correlating with the 2020 Election.

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    • Television Titles
      • “Celebrity Game Face”
      • “Hope & Fury: MLK, the Movement and the Media”
      • “Kenan S” (premieres Feb. 16)
      • “Married to Medicine: Atlanta Season 7”
      • “Race in America: A Movement Not a Moment”
      • “Race in America: Our Vote Counts”
      • “Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 13”
      • “Real Housewives of Potomac Season 5”
      • “The Rev Season 1”
      • “This Is Us Season 5”
      • “Young Rock Season 1” (premieres Feb. 16)
    • Film Titles
      • 2012
      • Avengers: Age of Ultron
      • Blade
      • Blade II
      • Enemy of the State (Feb. 15-28)
      • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
      • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
      • Fast Five
      • The Green Mile
      • Hancock
      • Olympus Has Fallen
      • San Andreas

NBCUniversal CEO: ‘The Office’ Doing Better on Peacock Than Netflix

On New Year’s Day, NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service acquired away from Netflix exclusive streaming rights to reruns of “The Office,” in a license deal reportedly worth $500 million. Episodes of the ensemble-cast sitcom, which last broadcast in primetime on NBC in 2013, have regularly ranked among Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 streamed content on the television. Indeed, “The Office” was by far the top TV show in minutes watched in 2020, according to Nielsen.

That acquisition appears to be paying off for Peacock. Speaking on the Jan. 28 fiscal call, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said the right things about the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company series, which co-starred Steve Carell and John Krasinski, among others.

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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell

“We’ve had it now for almost a month, very pleased with how it’s doing,” Shell said. “Our usage among our customers are actually higher than we think the usage was among Netflix customers.”

With Peacock marketed as a hybrid SVOD/AVOD service, with an emphasis on ad-supported video, NBCUniversal is using the initial season of “The Office” and other high-profile content as a loss-leader for Peacock’s free option, with access to subsequent seasons on Peacock’s two paid tiers ($4.99 with ads; $9.99 without).

“We’re seeing that people who are watching ‘The Office’ on Peacock are watching lots of other comedies,” Shell said. “So it’s really driving usage of ‘Parks & Recreation,’ and really driving ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’ among others.”

NBCUniversal employed the strategy acquiring streaming rights to England’s Premier League soccer, which Shell said has driven viewership of Western drama “Yellowstone.” He said the recent license deal involving the WWE Network streaming service would help generate viewership for WWE events on USA Network, among other content.

“We believe, there’s kind of an ecosystem here, like the whole world of broadcast where … we can cross promote people into different things,” Shell said. “And that certainly seems to be working and ‘The Office’ has really helped.”

Comcast CEO: Tokyo Summer Olympics Happening (Hopefully)

Comcast, parent of longtime Olympics broadcaster NBCUniversal, contends the delayed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will go on as scheduled, a hopeful Brian Roberts, chairman/CEO, said on the Jan. 28 fiscal call.

“Sitting here today, I believe there will be an Olympics,” Roberts said. “I hope there will be an Olympics. And I think that’s our best intelligence, at this time. And we’re excited about that.”

While the quadrennial sporting spectacle might not have an Olympic stadium filled with spectators, Roberts said the Games could be carried out the way other professional sports leagues have continued their seasons during the pandemic playing in front of empty stadiums.

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“That will be up to the host country [Japan] and the host committee,” Roberts said. “We’re very hopeful and believe that they’ll find a way to safely and successfully have the Olympics.”

China’s capital of Beijing is slated to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, also exclusively broadcast in the U.S. by NBC.

The Tokyo Games, previously slated for last July, were to have been a huge promotional plug for NBCUniversal’s just-launched Peacock streaming platform. NBCUniversal has fiscal insurance policies in place should the Games be canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.

In recent years, the Olympics has largely become a nationwide televised marketing event for American viewers showcasing Team USA, patriotism and individual achievement — against the backdrop of endless ads. That could continue during the pandemic with a healing effect, according to Roberts.

“For us, [the Olympics] is a television event and would be an amazing moment for the world to come back together post-what we’ve all globally been through [with the pandemic], which is so unprecedented,” Roberts said. “So we’re super hopeful and optimistic.”

Peacock to Become Exclusive Home of WWE Network Streaming Service

In a major lifeline for pro wrestling streaming access, Peacock and WWE Jan. 25  announced a multiyear agreement that gives Peacock exclusive streaming rights to WWE Network in the United States.

NBCUniversal has a longstanding relationship with WWE that began nearly 30 years ago with “Monday Night Raw” on USA Network.

WWE Network’s steady decline in subscription streaming VOD subscribers came to a halt in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30). The professional wrestling service’s average paid subs topped 1.6 million, an increase of 6%, marking the first quarterly increase since the first quarter of 2019.

Peacock will launch WWE Network on March 18, beginning the roll-out of more than 17,000 hours of new, original, and library programming on demand and on a 24/7 channel.

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The companies will share details on managing customer accounts closer to the Peacock launch in March. WWE Network, including all PPV events, will be available on Peacock Premium for $4.99 — a $5 per month savings. For an ad-free experience, Peacock Premium Plus will be available for $9.99.

“WWE has always tapped into the cultural zeitgeist with spectacular live events and larger-than-life characters,” Rick Cordella, Peacock EVP and chief revenue officer, said in a statement.

Cordella said the WWE Network is a “transformative” addition to the platform and complements Peacock’s catalog of movies and shows, as well as live news and sports from NBCUniversal.

“Peacock is an innovative platform that will enable us to showcase our most significant events, including ‘WrestleMania,’ and provide the entertainment our fans have come to expect with the combination of premium WWE content, live sports, news, films and television programs,” Nick Khan, WWE president and chief revenue officer, said in a statement.

The agreement includes all live pay-per-view  events, including “WrestleMania” and “SummerSlam”; “Fastlane” will be the first WWE pay-per-view to stream on Peacock on March 21.

Original series include “Steve Austin Broken Skull Sessions,” “Undertaker: The Last Ride” and the all-new “WWE Icons”; in-ring shows such as “NXT,” “NXT U.K.” and “WWE 205 Live,” as well as replays of “Raw” and “SmackDown”; and “WWE Network” archives, including every WWE, WCW and ECW PPV event in history.

Documentaries include “WWE 24,” “WWE Untold,” and “WWE 365,” and, starting in 2022, one signature documentary annually.

Peacock is currently available on the Roku platform; Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices, including Android, Android TV devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices; Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; Sony PlayStation4, PlayStation 4 Pro, and PlayStation5; and Vizio SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs.

NBCUniversal Expands Social Media Content Partnership With New Twitter Deal

NBCUniversal and Twitter Jan. 25 announced an agreement that would expand original content across the social media platform worldwide.

NBCUniversal offers trending news and video from myriad high-profile events such as “The Golden Globes,” “The People’s Choice Awards,” “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” and Telemundo’s “Latin American Music Awards”; news on Noticias Telemundo;  and events on NBC Sports, Telemundo Deportes, Sky Sports and the Golf Channel developed and distributed on Twitter.

“By joining forces with Twitter on this new global partnership, we’re bringing NBCUniversal’s premium content directly to audiences around the world, and we’re leveraging Twitter’s platform capabilities to create even more engaging and interactive experiences,” Joe Cady, SVP of development at NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

Since 2015, NBCUniversal has invested heavily in digital platforms, including partnerships with Snap, Vox and BuzzFeed, among others. The media giant last year launched Peacock, its first branded SVOD/AVOD platform. The new deal with Twitter seeks to further involve NBCU’s brands on social media platforms.

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“NBCU represents one of Twitter’s largest and deepest content partnerships in the U.S.,” Jen Prince, VP and global head of content partnerships for Twitter, said in a statement. “This agreement expands not only their content publishing output in the U.S., but will position international markets for growth as well.”

‘The Office’ Enjoys January Streaming Boost on Peacock

As content goes, NBCUniversal’s exclusive $500 million streaming license acquisition of “The Office” from Netflix was one of the big stories to end 2020. Reruns of the 2005-13 NBC comedy have ranked consistently among the top three streamed programs on living room televisions, according to Nielsen.

So all eyes are on the show’s performance on Peacock in early 2021. Unsurprisingly, “The Office,” which saw an increase in streaming a couple of weeks prior to its Netflix departure, saw an even sharper incline upon its arrival on Peacock (Free + Premium). The share of streams for the series rose 9.2% Jan. 1-7, topping Netflix original “Bridgerton” and the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” on Reelgood’s list of the Top 100 most-watched TV shows for that specific week.

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Since then, the level of “Office” viewing activity seems to have slowed to more sustainable levels, but it’s good news for NBC that the series seems to be living up to its potential and has not dropped below Netflix levels of streaming thus far.

Additionally, the content aggregator with 2 million members found that the number of users with Peacock Free selected as one of their subscription services via Reelgood grew by 17% during the week of Jan. 8 vs. the week of Dec. 25.

Similarly, the number of Reelgood users with Peacock Premium as a streaming service grew by a more conservative 5% within the same timeframe.

Report: NBCUniversal’s Peacock Streaming Service to Top 52 Million Subs by 2024

NBCUniversal’s upstart hybrid subscription streaming video service, Peacock, is projected to surpass 52 million paid/free members by 2024 since its mid-July launch last year. The service disclosed it had 26 million subs in December.

The tally, according to new data from Wall Street firm Macquarie, suggests Comcast’s first branded SVOD/AVOD platform generated $296 million in revenue last year. Peacock features a free ad-supported access to 13,000 hours of content option; a $4.99 monthly option with limited ads; and a $9.99 monthly ad-free plan with 20,000 hours of content. Revenue is projected to reach $604 million in 2021, $1.96 billion by 2024.

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Peacock, which is available on the Roku platform, is not currently offered to Amazon Fire TV’s 50 million members or on Samsung’s online TV platform due to ongoing carriage disagreements. Rival streaming platform Discovery+ just launched on both Roku and Amazon, while HBO Max finally secured access to the two streaming gateways after bowing last year without access.

Peacock last week announced the launch of “LIT Entertainment News” channel, a 24-hour celebrity news offering that will be exclusive for a month before being licensed to other platforms domestically and abroad.


Charter Spectrum Gets Access to Peacock Streaming Service

NBCUniversal and Charter Communications Jan. 7 announced a multiyear distribution agreement for NBCUniversal’s portfolio of broadcast, entertainment, Hispanic, news and sports content in Charter’s Spectrum homes and businesses across 41 states.

As part of the carriage agreement, Charter will offer its pay-TV subscribers direct access to Peacock Premium, with the ad-supported $4.99 SVOD option available for an extended free trial to Spectrum’s broadband and pay-TV subscribers. Charter intends to distribute the Peacock app, which includes separate free AVOD and $9.99 ad-free Premium Plus options via its Spectrum Guide platform in the future.

The deal is significant since it helps NBCUniversal expand Peacock distribution channels, which include Amazon Fire TV and Roku. The SVOD/AVOD hybrid topped 26 million subs a month ago.

Spectrum will also continue to offer subscribers NBC, Telemundo, Bravo, CNBC, E!, MSNBC, The Olympic Channel, Oxygen, Syfy, USA Network, Universal Kids, Universo, The Golf Channel, CNBC World, New England Cable News (NECN), and NBC Sports Network, as well as five of NBC’s Regional Sports Networks: NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Northwest, NBC Sports Boston and NBC Sports Chicago.

Charter ended the most-recent fiscal period with 15.7 million pay-TV subs, and 26.8 million high-speed Internet subs — up 9% from 24.6 million a year ago.

“Charter is a valued partner with passionate NBCUniversal fans in millions of homes nationwide,” said Matt Bond, chairman of content distribution at NBCUniversal. “We look forward to delivering our industry-leading network content portfolio, as well as the strong collection of original and library content in our Peacock Premium offering, to Charter’s subscribers everywhere.”

Peacock is currently available on the Roku platform; Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K, and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices, including Android, Android TV devices, Chromecast, and Chromecast built-in devices; Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; Sony PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro; and VIZIO SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs.

Nielsen: ‘The Office’ Atop Weekly SVOD Chart

One of Netflix’s streaming hits is re-runs of former NBC sitcom “The Office.” The series finished atop Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 SVOD chart through Dec. 13, 2020, tracking 1.27 billion minutes streamed across 192 episodes. The longtime podium finisher gained attention in December as the series moved to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service on Jan. 1.

Nielsen’s chart tracks Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Hulu streaming data on household televisions.

Disney’s “The Mandalorian” moved up to the No. 2 spot with 1 billion minutes — the highest ranking on Nielsen’s chart tracking viewership of two minutes or more per program. The previous week’s chart topper, “Virgin River,” dropped to No. 3 with 948 million minutes across 20 episodes.

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Persons 2+ Total Minutes Viewed – Week of 12/7/20 – 12/13/20
Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television.