Ampere: Peacock and HBO Max Appealing to Different Audiences

NBCUniversal’s Peacock subscription streaming video service topped 15 million app subs, while WarnerMedia’s HBO Max surpassed 4.1 million in their respective first month of operation. New data from Ampere Analysis contends consumer response to the two platforms has been positive.

The London-based research firm, citing a survey of 4,000 online respondents in the U.S., found 8% of domestic Internet homes had Max subscriptions, while 7% were using Peacock. Age seems to be a factor among app subscribers.

“Peacock’s early adopters show that it has been successful in converting broadcast channel audiences — who are an older demographic and typically more difficult to convert — into SVOD subscribers, allowing it to play in an arena that is generally less competitive,” senior analyst Annabel Yeomans said in a statement.

 

Indeed, Max subscribers are 50% more likely to be in the 25-to-44 year-old age group, which is identical to the current HBO pay-TV sub. In addition, Max’s $14.99 monthly price makes it the most expensive SVOD service on the market — thus attracting 69% of households with incomes of $51,000 or more.

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Meanwhile, Peacock is appealing slightly older subs (35 to 44), with broadcast programming targeting older viewers, according to Ampere. The report contends 19% of Peacock’s viewers are over 55, compared to 6% of Max viewers. And 54% of Peacock households have total incomes of $51,000 or more.

Peacock, unlike other major SVOD platforms, has a free ad-supported option.

Regardless, content remains king and Yeomans said Max has yet to diversify its audience away from the hardcore HBO pay-TV channel known for high-end drama, comedy and documentaries.

“Nonetheless this is an already-crowded market with strong competitors like, so while increasing the diversity of catalogs and quality of original content will be key to driving scale, playing to each services’ brand and audience strengths should also not be forgotten,” she said.

Amazon Prime Video to Stream Its First NFL Postseason Game

Amazon Prime Video has reportedly acquired streaming rights to the National Football League’s second-day wildcard round on Jan. 10, 2021. The post-season game is a first for Prime Video — and not exclusive. The Prime streaming video service will share the NFC/AFC matchups with CBS broadcast network (and CBS All Access) and Nickelodeon.

Amazon earlier this year renewed its rights to stream 11 NFL Thursday Night Football games for a reported $75 million. Amazon began live-streaming TNF games in 2017 on Prime Video and Twitch, hosted by the first all-female announcing team featuring Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer.

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The wildcard round rights cost Amazon significantly more than TNF, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the deal, citing league sources. NBCUniversal’s Peacock SVOD platform will live-stream a second wildcard playoff game.

Google-owned YouTube TV last year became the first digital platform to live-stream Major League Baseball post-season and World Series games. YouTube also acquired rights to live-stream 13 regular season games free (with ads) for viewers to watch in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. MLB has been streaming games on its MLB.tv platform since 2002, beginning first with audio only.

Despite some off-field controversies, the NFL remains a ratings winner, snagging 18 of the Top 20 most-watched telecasts since Sept. 10. The other two top-ranked programs: the presidential and vice presidential debates.

 

NBCUniversal’s Peacock Streaming Service Now Available on Roku

As expected, Peacock and Roku Sept. 21 officially announced that the Peacock streaming video app is now available nationwide on the Roku platform, reaching households with an estimated 100 million people. The agreement followed months of negotiations that saw NBCUniversal’s SVOD service enter the market without distribution on Roku and Amazon Fire TV — both considered must-have distribution channels in the over-the-top video ecosystem.

Comcast chairman/CEO Brian Roberts Sept. 15 disclosed that Peacock, which is available for $4.99 per month with ads and $9.99 without, had attracted 15 million subscribers without Roku distribution since launching nationwide in July.

In addition to a SVOD option offering subscribers access to more than 20,000 hours of on-demand movies and shows, as well as live news and sports programming, Peacock offers a free, ad-supported option featuring more than 13,000 hours of current, classic, and original movies and shows, as well as live and on-demand content across news, sports, reality, late-night, and Spanish-language.

“Roku customers are engaged streamers and we know they’ll love access to a wide range of free and paid content,” Maggie McLean Suniewick, president of business development and partnerships at Peacock, said in a statement.

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“Audience demand for compelling content is fueling a surging shift to streaming for a majority of American households today,” said Tedd Cittadine, VP of content acquisition at Roku. “We’re focused on delivering the kind of high-quality news and entertainment content Roku users want and love … and help NBCUniversal build a bigger fan base.”

In addition to current season programming from NBC and Telemundo, Peacock offers access to live sports like upcoming coverage of the Premier League; hundreds of blockbuster movies like Trolls World Tour, 3:10 to Yuma and Beetlejuice; iconic shows, including comedies “Parks and Recreation,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “30 Rock,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The King of Queens,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Frasier,” “George Lopez” and “Cheers;” dramas “Law & Order: SVU,” “Downton Abbey,” “Yellowstone,” “Friday Night Lights,” “House,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Psych,” “Parenthood,” “Monk” and “Heroes”; kids programming, including “Curious George,” “Where’s Waldo?” and “Cleopatra in Space”; reality hits, including the “Real Housewives” franchise, “Top Chef” and “Below Deck”; and Peacock Original series, including dramas “Brave New World,” “Noughts + Crosses,” “The Capture” and “Departure”; comedies “Five Bedrooms,” “Intelligence” and “A.P. Bio”;  documentaries, including Black Boys, The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show, and A Most Beautiful Thing; and late-night shows, including “Wilmore” with Larry Wilmore and “The Amber Ruffin Show.”

In addition to the Roku platform, Peacock is currently available on Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices, including Android TV devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices; Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; and VIZIO SmartCast TVs, Sony PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro, and LG Smart TVs. Comcast’s eligible Xfinity X1 and Flex customers, as well as eligible Cox Contour customers, enjoy Peacock Premium as part of their subscription at no additional cost.

NBCUniversal, Roku Set to Announce First-Ever Peacock Carriage Deal

Carriage disputes traditionally occurring between content holders and pay-TV distributors have gone over-the-top — and now have a happy ending.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit and streaming media pioneer Roku are set to announce in the next few days a carriage agreement that would include the media giant’s TV Everywhere channels and — for the first time — distribution of the Peacock streaming video platform. TV Everywhere channels (i.e. apps) include NBC, Bravo, E!, Syfy and USA Networks.

The tentative agreement, disclosed by a source familiar with the situation, would put to end a long-running impasse that has kept Peacock off the Roku (and Amazon Fire TV) platform since it launched in July. Comcast this week disclosed the platform has 15 million subscribers since launching nationwide.

Until this agreement, which should be announced in the coming days, NBCUNiversal had threatened to remove its TV Everywhere apps from the Roku platform.

“Comcast is removing the channels in order to try to force Roku to distribute its new Peacock service on unreasonable terms,” Roku said previously in statement.

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Indeed, Peacock, like WarnerMedia’s HBO Max subscription streaming video platform, had issue with Roku over distribution fees (Roku takes 20% cut) and revenue sharing (30%), among other issues. The situation is similar to carriage spats between content holders and pay-TV operators that often lead to channel blackouts.

NBCUniversal contends that during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the need for video content — both ad-supported and subscription-based — is vital.

“Roku has made the extremely unfortunate decision to remove NBCUniversal’s leading content from their platform,” said a rep in a statement. “We are disappointed Roku is removing its users’ free access to NBCUniversal programming, 11 network apps, 12 NBC Owned Station apps, 23 Telemundo Owned Station apps — and continues to block access to the only free premium streaming service available in the market, Peacock.”

NBCUniversal contended Roku’s “unreasonable” demands hurt both their consumers and their consumer equipment partners to whom they’ve promised access to all apps in the marketplace.

The Roku platform had more than 43 million active user accounts at the end of June. Roku is projected to end the year with 52 million user accounts — or 40% of all U.S. broadband households, according to Conviva.

The Motley Fool reported that the average Roku user streamed 3.64 hours of content a day in the first quarter, ended March 31. That translated to 13.2 billion hours users spent consuming content on the platform, which was up 49% from the previous-year period. That tally has likely exploded during the coronavirus pandemic.

Roku argues that by not agreeing with its terms, NBCUniversal is losing out on “hundreds of millions of dollars” in revenue. CNBC, which is owned by NBCUniversal, reported that its parent is seeking the distribution fee be cut to 15%, in addition to remedying an ad-software issue.

“[NBCUniversal is] hesitant about connecting Peacock with third-party software it can’t control,]” CNBC said in its report.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock Streaming Service Tops 15 Million Subs Since Launching in July

NBCUniversal’s upstart SVOD/AVOD streaming video platform, Peacock, has surpassed 15 million subscribers, Comcast Corp. CEO Brian Roberts Sept. 15 told a virtual investor event. Peacock topped 10 million subs six weeks after launching nationwide in July.

“That’s 50% more than just six weeks ago,” Roberts said from his home on the Goldman Sachs 29th Annual Communicopia Conference. The CEO said the convergence of entertainment distribution between media and tech companies across multiple platforms has become an ongoing reality — driven by broadband and streaming video.

Comcast Chairman/CEO Brian Roberts

“We saw this coming and feel we are one of the best companies to play offense in this environment,” Roberts said.

Indeed, as Comcast continues to hemorrhage pay-TV subscribers (477,000 in Q2), the cable operator has quietly become one of the world’s largest ISPs and (broadband) distributors — adding 1.6 million high-speed Internet subscribers in the past 12 months, to end Q2 with 29.4 million subs. Roberts said that Comcast-owned satellite TV operator Sky is now the No. 2 broadband provider in Italy and Germany.

The executive said that Comcast would bring two Olympic Games and the Super Bowl to NBC over the next 18 months, in addition to Peacock. Roberts envisions the hybrid SVOD/AVOD platform to be complementary to pay-TV and not necessarily an all-or-nothing replacement.

“Peacock is big part of the ecosystem but not the only part,” Roberts said, adding that content development going forward would be distributed in the channel delivering it the most consumer retention.

“First and foremost develop content that resonates and then determine maybe its for network and Peacock, maybe just Peacock, and maybe we’ll go across all three: broadcast, broadband and Peacock,” he said. “We think that gets us a better focus on decision making.”

Netflix Dominates Consumer Interest in Crowded SVOD Market

Netflix continues to resonate among consumers despite an influx of new subscription streaming video services featuring both paid and free, ad-based content.

New data from JustWatch, an international streaming content guide with more than 20 million users per month across 46 countries, suggests Netflix’s popularity continues to dwarf the competition at a time when upstarts such as Disney+, HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock dominate the news. Only Amazon Prime Video tracks the same double-digit approval among consumers as Netflix.

In four weeks after launch, JustWatch noted that consumer interest in Peacock was two-times less than consumer interest in Disney+ and almost five-times less than in Netflix.

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Unlike other SVOD platforms, Peacock, which launched July 15, offers a free ad-supported option featuring two-thirds of its 20,000-hour content catalog to anyone in the U.S.

“However, Peacock is already beating out Apple TV+,” JustWatch said.

Peacock Adds NBC Sports Channel

Peacock has added a new exclusive free channel: NBC Sports on Peacock.

Debuting Aug. 24, the channel will stream daytime live sports talk programming, including “PFT Live with Mike Florio,” “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Rich Eisen Show.” In September, “Brother From Another” and “PFT PM” will join the lineup.

From the creators of “Pro Football Talk Live,” “PFT PM” delivers the latest news from around the league. The show is hosted by Mike Florio and regularly features Charean Williams, Peter King, Rodney Harrison, Tony Dungy and Chris Simms.

“Peacock provides live topical sports conversations all day, every weekday, from the best and most experienced personalities in sports,” Rick Cordella, EVP and chief revenue officer for Peacock, said in a statement. “We’re excited to launch the NBC Sports Channel on Peacock with this unique and exclusive content, who provide the fans the latest commentary and opinion on everything that is happening in the world of sport.”

The NBC Sports on Peacock schedule includes “PFT Live with Mike Florio” 7 a.m.-9 a.m. ET, “The Dan Patrick Show” 9 a.m.-noon ET, “The Rich Eisen Show” noon-3 p.m. ET (exclusivity begins Oct. 5), “Brother From Another” 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET, and “PFT PM” 6 p.m.-7 p.m. ET.

Shows will be available on demand in addition to streaming live. Highlights from NBC Sports Channel on Peacock will also be featured in the service’s Trending section, a hub for short-form content that is updated on a daily basis and includes sports highlights, pop culture updates, and shorter interview and news segments.

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Upcoming live sports on Peacock includes coverage of golf’s U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, Premier League, an NFL Wild Card Playoff Game, and select events from the upcoming Tokyo and Beijing Olympics. Fans can also watch on demand replays of events such as Triple Crown horse races, daily highlights from NBC Sports, and hundreds of hours of sports series, documentaries and films such as Tiger Woods: Chasing History; 1968; I Am AliDream TeamBeing EvelFeherty; Willie; and Peacock Originals Lost Speedways and In Deep with Ryan Lochte.

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Consumers can sign up for Peacock for free at peacocktv.com. Peacock is currently available on 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 and PlayStation 4 Pro; and Vizio SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs. Comcast’s eligible Xfinity X1 and Flex customers, as well as eligible Cox Contour customers, enjoy Peacock Premium included with their service at no additional cost.

SVOD Pushing LGBTQ Programming, Demand

TV shows and movies featuring gay and/or transsexual characters have seen a boom on subscription streaming video services. New data from Ampere Analysis suggests SVOD platforms are leading the way in commissioning LGBT+ content. Between Q1 2019 and Q2 2020, 12 services globally ordered multiple LGBT+ movies or series. 80% of those commissions were destined for on-demand platforms, with public broadcasters such as the BBC and France Télévisions also favouring on-demand delivery for series with LGBT+ themes.

Linear TV operators were more likely to opt for one-off TV specials on LGBT+ topics than commit to long-form series. While SVOD services such as Netflix and Amazon have the advantage of global reach when it comes to finding an audience for LGBT+ shows, their LGBT+ catalogs remain majority U.S.-sourced, but this looks set to change as LGBT+ content produced internationally catches the attention of the major SVOD players.

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“Netflix and Amazon Prime Video’s originals ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and ‘Transparent’ confirmed the appeal of LGBT+ themed content beyond the LGBT+ community,” analyst Alice Thorpe said in a statement. “Now queer content is an expected part of new SVOD services’ offerings, as we’ve seen with newly launched platforms like HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi.”

London-based Ampere found 18- to 34-year-olds are the most likely to identify as part of, and be accepting of, the LGBT+ community. This audience also over-indexes for subscribing to SVOD services. HBO Max has commissioned as many series about LGBT+ people in the past 12 months as its pay-TV channels have in the past three years.

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These titles include comedy drama series “Beth & Sam” and “Drama Queen.” The platform also has LGBT+ movies in the pipeline, such as YA novel adaptation “I’ll Be the One” and “We Were There, Too,” from Gloria Calderón Kellett and Natasha Rothwell.

With three upcoming series, “Expecting,” “Clean Slate,” and a reboot of the iconic British series “Queer as Folk,” Peacock’s LGBT+ content equates to 7% of its entire original commissions slate to date.

Although Netflix and Amazon have seen the proportion of their global TV catalogs that is sourced from U.S. producers decline to around 29% and 31%, respectively, this is not the case for LGBT+ TV content.

LGBT+ TV shows on Netflix skew 65% American-produced. On Amazon it’s 58%. One of the reasons for this is likely to relate to the risks associated with producing such content overseas. For instance, recently the Turkish Netflix original, “If Only,” was denied filming rights by the country’s government because it featured a gay supporting character.

In general, however, LGBT+ shows resonate across many territories and offer great potential for international distribution.

“One aspect of LGBT+ content’s specific appeal is its ability to travel across territories and inspire fandom,” Thorpe said. “This allows characters to travel into spin-off series as we’ve seen in Spain and Mexico. The international players are staring to acquire some of this locally produced content and we expect to see more of it on the SVOD platforms in the coming quarters.”

Indeed, Spain’s Atresmedia’s long-running series, “Amar es para siempre” spawned modern-day drama “#Luimelia.” Commissioned for the group’s premium SVOD tier, Atresplayer Premium, it has already been renewed for a further two seasons. HBO Max recently acquired the platform’s original bioseries “Veneno,” about the life of the Spanish singer and trans icon.

In Mexico, Televisa’s “Mi marido tiene familia” spawned “El corazon nunca se equivoca,” a series about a young gay couple aimed at a teen audience. Elsewhere, Colombia’s RCN has “Lala’s Spa,” starring trans actress Isabella Santiago in production. In Brazil, Globoplay is working on a bioseries about Marielle Franco and Amazon has original September in the works.

The Korean market has been more conservative than APAC countries like Thailand and Japan where LGBT+ content is more common. However, the tide is changing and recently more well-rounded LGBT+ characters have appeared, for instance in jTBC’s “Itaewon Class.” This became the third-most-watched show in the broadcaster’s history in Q1 2020. The international platforms have spotted untapped potential in Korean content, with series such as “Where Your Eyes Linger,” recently acquired by Netflix for its Korean service.

Brave New World

STREAMING REVIEW:

Peacock;
Sci-Fi;
Not rated.
Stars Alden Ehrenreich, Jessica Brown Findlay, Harry Lloyd, Kylie Bunbury, Nina Sosanya, Joseph Morgan, Sen Mitsuji, Hannah John-Kamen, Demi Moore.

Among the signature originals of NBCUniversal’s new Peacock streaming service is this sexed-up, modernized adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian 1932 novel about a futuristic society that achieves the illusion of utopia through population control and psychological manipulation.

“Brave New World” the series takes place in a technologically advanced future society in which all children are genetically engineered, adults are drugged into happiness, people are ranked by the importance of their role in society, and all privacy and monogamy is prohibited.

One of the administrators, Bernard (Harry Lloyd) begins to question the system when one of the lower-ranking janitors commits suicide, and he begins having insecurities about fitting in. He befriends a lower-ranked genetic scientist, Lenina (Jessica Brown Findlay), whom he previously chastised for carrying on an exclusive sexual relationship with another high-ranking citizen, calling their actions selfish for refusing to share each other’s bodies with the rest of society.

They take a trip to the Savage Lands, an amusement park set up to re-create the way humanity used to live (essentially the show spoofing our current way of life). The less-sophisticated residents of the Savage Lands, however, don’t take kindly to being gawked at by the intellectual elite, and begin planning a violent revolution. Among them is John (Alden Ehrenreich), the propmaster who decides to spice up an enactment of a shotgun wedding by adding live ammunition.

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While story elements and characters are derived from the source material, the show itself with its ample nudity, graphic violence and slick production values comes across more like HBO’s “Westworld” but with actual people instead of robots, and less-convoluted plotting. The series had been in development since 2015 for the less-risqué Syfy network, another NBCUniversal subsidiary, so it’s easy to see why Peacock would poach it in an attempt to grab a piece of the “Westworld” and “Handmaid’s Tale” audiences.

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The first two episodes are available on Peacock’s free ad-supported level. For the remaining seven episodes, viewers must upgrade to one of Peacock’s paid plans.

Peacock Streaming Service Tallies 10 Million Subs Since July 15 Launch

NBCUniversal’s high-profile subscription streaming and ad-supported VOD platform, Peacock, has generated 10 million subscribers since its July 15 launch, Comcast chairman/CEO Brian Roberts announced July 30.

The service, along with WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, represent the latest major media company efforts to compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu in the burgeoning over-the-top video market.

Speaking on the fiscal call, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said the launch has exceeded expectations thus far.

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“We could not be more pleased,” he said. “Not only are more people signing up than we projected, but they are watching more frequently and engaging much longer than we projected.”

One key difference between Peacock and other services is the new service offers a free ad-supported tier with limited programming that new subscribers can access without a credit card or paying anything. Subscribers can choose to unlock all the content with a paid premium tier with limited ads, or an ad-free premium tier.

Shell said he expects Peacock to ramp up subscriptions in the fall and with the launch of new original programming in January.