Peacock Streaming Service Launching April 15 With AVOD and SVOD Options

NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke Jan. 16 announced the April 15 launch of branded subscription streaming video service Peacock on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex video platforms before bowing nationwide on July 15, offering more than 600 movies and 400 series and ranging from free (ad-supported Peacock Free app) to $4.99 and $9.99 (in 4K UHD).

Peacock Platinum will target 24 million pay-TV subs, including Comcast Cable and third-party partner Cox Communications priced at $4.99 monthly. The company expects to reach 30-35 million active accounts by 2024.

Speaking from Studio8H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, Burke highlighted the advantanges of over-the-top video by the recent return to “Saturday Night Live” with Eddie Murphy, which he said saw a 31% uptick in viewership due in part to streaming.

“On-demand vieweing has generated larger and  larger audiences, but we don’t know how to monetize them well,” Burke said. “We don’t the control the consumer experience.”

The executive said that with Peacock there’s “a clear opportunity” to create a streaming property “we control and own.”

Burke said the ad-supported business is a proven business model. Working with Sky’s Now TV, which will provide the technology backbone to the Peacock service, Burke said Comcast, NBC Universal and Sky offer a great business opportunity entering the OTT ecosystem.

Peacock’s AVOD launch sponsors include Eli Lilly and Company, State Farm, Target and Unilever.

Linda Yaccarino, chairperson of NBC Universal Advertising, said the streaming service would help advertisers reach consumers at a lower cost.

“Without scale you can’t have impact,” Yaccarino said, adding that Peacock would have the “lightest ad load” in the OTT industry, with just five minutes of ads per hour of programming.

“[The] best possible environment for consumers and advertisers,” she said.

Tina Fey, who credited her start in show business to NBC, came on stage to announce her new original series, “Girls5Eva,” about a one-hit-wonder girl group from the 90’s that reunites to give their pop star dreams one more shot.

The platform will be the non-exclusive streaming platform to more than 1,000 episodes featuring “Law and Order,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” and “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med” and “Chicago P.D.” franchises from creator Dick Wolf.

The platform also inked a deal for “Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud” comedy series.

Peacock will also stream Paramount Network series “Yellowstone,” the Kevin Costner drama, licensed from ViacomCBS. Additionally, “Two and a Half Men,” and “The George Lopez Show” from Warner Brothers were announced.

Noteworthy original series in development for Peacock include: “Expecting,” from Mindy Kaling, “Division One,” from Amy Poehler, “Clean Slate,” from Norman Lear and “MacGruber,” from Will Forte.

Previously announced Peacock scripted originals include comedies such as “Rutherford Falls,” “Saved by the Bell,” “A.P. Bio,” “Punky Brewster,” and the movie spinoff “Psych 2: Lassie Come Home,” as well as dramas “Dr. Death,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Brave New World,” “Angelyne” and “Armas de Mujer.”

Movie selections will be curated by online ticket service Fandango, which is owned by Comcast. Peacock will have the exclusive streaming rights for the 2020 Universal film slate and beyond in the network window. Films will include live action feature films, including Fast & Furious 9 and Jurassic World 3.

Matt Strauss, chairman, Peacock and NBCUniversal digital enterprises, said consumers are watching more premium content than in the history of television. But the rise in streaming video challenges include content fragmentation, endless scrolling and prices.

He that while 65% of time people know what they want to watch. Peacock will have robust on-demand content offering. Borrowing from Spotify, Peacock will have channels of content, trending playlists, and dedicated channels of programming for specific users.

“We see this as an opportunity with Peacock,” he said.

Seth Meyers, who opened with a Theranos joke (for the investor audience), said Studio8H has been incubator for televised comedy and conduit for Peacock’s comedy slate.

Jimmy Fallon announced that his “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” would stream early for the firs time (an hour early at 8 p.m.) on Peacock each night.

The platform will also figure prominently at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, featuring live coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies before they air on NBC in primetime. The service will stream three daily Olympic shows, including “Tokyo Live,” “Tokyo Daily Digest,” and “Tokyo Tonight.” Peacock will also stream Olympic documentaries and specials.

“Nothing brings the world together than the Olympics,” Mike Tirico, primetime host of NBC’s quadrennial coverage, told attendees.

Peacock will be home to live breaking news coverage, including the 2020 presidential election. NBC News Now, the newly launched streaming network, will bring Peacock viewers “NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt” as well as original video from “Today” and across the NBC News portfolio.

The longest running show in television history will also be part of the newest streaming platform — with an original offering from “Meet the Press With Chuck Todd” on Peacock each weekday. In addition, NBC News will create original documentaries for Peacock — delving deep into politics, biographies and history. Peacock will also be home to full episodes of “Dateline” — the true crime original.

 

NBC Universal Holding Peacock Investor Event Jan. 16

Comcast subsidiary NBC Universal is set to unveil on Jan. 16 further details about its branded Peacock subscription streaming video service in a special investor event at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.

Longtime Comcast executive Matthew Strauss and other senior executives are expected to shed additional light on the service the media company heretofore has been tight-lipped about. Indeed, the price points for Peacock (reported to be $9.99 and $4.99 for an ad-supported option) remain officially unknown.

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The SVOD service is a big step for Comcast, which heretofore has eschewed streaming video for traditional pay-TV and on-demand programming. The cable giant in 2016 embraced Netflix and YouTube in efforts to keep Xfinity subscribers in the fold.  In 2018, it added Netflix to Xfinity cable bundles.

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With Apple and Disney launching competing services last year, and WarnerMedia bowing HBO Max in May, the SVOD market has quickly expanded beyond Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, including jumpstarting an ad-supported VOD market.

Comcast has hinted at offering Peacock for free to Xfinity subs, but no official word whether that will indeed be an option.

CBS All Access, Showtime Top Combined 10 Million Subs

ViacomCBS’ standalone subscription streaming video services have more than 10 million combined subscribers — up from 8 million previously announced — but down from the 16 million subs suggested by acting CEO Joe Ianniello in the most-recent fiscal call.

Speaking Jan. 12 at the Television Critics Assn. winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer and boss of CBS Interactive, said the services have been growing subs by 60% annually.

“We’re in a great position to hit our goals of 25 million subscribers by 2022,” DeBevoise said.

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The executive, along with Julie McNamara, head of All Access Originals, said the two services’ appeal to subscribers underscores their diversity of content, including catalog and original.

“I think that’s pretty unique,” DeBevoise said.

McNamara said competing against new services Apple TV+, Disney+ and pending platforms HBO Max and Peacock, revolves around the confidence executives have for proprietary platforms.

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“I think we’ve seen with other services, the kind of pro and con of how that works, and you’ve got to have the creative confidence and keep going out there with shows people want to see, and I do believe that most consumers out there will follow their hearts, to some extent, in terms of the content being really desirable for them,” she said.

Regardless, Ianniello calculated the 16 million sub count by combining traditional pay-TV subs accessing Showtime and All Access as well as standalone direct-to-consumer and online TV subs streaming programming through third-party platforms such as Sling TV and AT&T TV Now.

“We think [the overall sub count] is important because there is a lot of headwind in the traditional [pay-TV] business and our point is, when you factor all of that in, we are [actually] growing subs,” he said last October. “So, that’s why we thought that [16 million] statistic was meaningful … that consumers are seeking out our content on other platforms, which bodes well for our future.”

 

NBC Universal to Combine Ad Selling in the Digital Era

Continuing with the advertising theme in an over-the-top video ecosystem at CES 2020, NBC Universal is consolidating the selling of ad space across its linear and digital platforms.

Speaking Jan. 7 at CES, Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships, told attendees ad buyers would soon be able to acquire spots under the company’s “One Platform” banner and in the process streamline the process across linear and digital properties — the latter including the April launch of the Peacock streaming service.

NBC Universal ad boss Linda Yaccarino.

“We know that viewers do not differentiate content by network, time or screen; instead, our fans see NBC Universal as one giant home to the best stories, so that’s the mindset we’ll go to market with in 2020,” Yaccarino said in a statement.

The move comes as media companies roll out subscription video-on-demand and ad-supported VOD services in an effort to narrow the gap between OTT behemoths Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

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With the surge in SVOD services comes fatigue among consumers facing myriad monthly subscription fees ranging from $4 to $15 monthly. Advertising is seen as a way to offset loss-leading subscription fees while enabling a shadow AVOD market.

Many observers have suggested Netflix should start selling ads due to its massive global subscriber base, in addition to mounting long-term debt from bond sales. The SVOD pioneer heretofore has refused to run ads.

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NBC Universal’s Peacock service will be SVOD and ad-supported, depending on the targeted user such as Xfinity subs and consumers with no Comcast connection.

“If you do that, advertising with a light ad load, with the premium content that will be on this network, this will be unlike any advertising inventory available,” CEO Brian Roberts told the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York last year.

 

NBCUniversal’s Peacock Streaming Service Launches Twitter Account

In today’s media world, you can’t go far without social media, or a Twitter account.

NBCUniversal has just launched a Twitter account for Peacock, its standalone subscription/ad-supported streaming video service launching in April.

The service will feature movies and TV shows from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Illumination, DreamWorks Animation and Lionsgate.

The service at launch promises around 15,000 hours of content, including catalog titles “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office,” and reboots of “Battlestar Galactica,” “Saved by the Bell” and “Punky Brewster,” among others.

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Other shows include “30 Rock,” “Bates Motel,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Cheers,” “Chrisley Knows Best,” “Covert Affairs,” “Downton Abbey,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Frasier,” “Friday Night Lights,” “House,” “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,””King of Queens,” “Married … With Children,” “Monk,” “Parenthood,” “Psych,” “Royal Pains,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Superstore,” “The Real Housewives,” “Top Chef” and “Will & Grace,” among others.

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NBCUniversal Peacock Service Eyeing $4.99/$10 Price Options

NBCUniversal’s high-profile branded subscription streaming service Peacock reportedly will be priced at $4.99 monthly with commercials and $10 without.

Citing sources, The Information disclosed the price points, which launches in April 2020. NBC Universal has not disclosed pricing for the SVOD service.

The pricing rivals Apple TV+, while undercutting CBS All Access ($5.99), Disney+ ($6.99), Amazon Prime Video ($8.99), Netflix ($8.99), Showtime ($10.99) and HBO Max ($14.99), among others.

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Peacock will launch with more than 15,000 hours of content and takes center stage at the end of July during the 2020 Summer Olympics. It will feature NBC catalog shows, “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” in addition to movies from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination.

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Comcast Pumping $2 Billion into Peacock Streaming Service

Comcast’s NBC Universal business unit next year launches Peacock, a branded subscription and ad-supported streaming video platform.

Peacock will be available for free (with ads) to Xfinity subscribers and for a fee to non-pay-TV subs.

Speaking Dec. 9 at the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York City, Mike Cavanagh, CFO of Comcast Corp., disclosed that the media company plans to spend upwards of $2 billion on original content and marketing over the first two years for the streaming service.

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Cavanagh said spending on Peacock would peak at 1% of Comcast revenue with the goal of breaking even within five years.

“We think we have a special opportunity [with Peacock],” Cavanagh said. “Clearly, advertising are going to be looking in this world for opportunities to reach new audiences.”

He said Comcast is replicating “the same mindset” it applied to launching Xfinity Mobile, the telecommunications business Cavanagh said it projected to break even by 2021.

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Comcast is holding an investor day event for Peacock on Jan. 16, 2020.

 

Comcast to Discuss ‘Peacock’ Streaming Service Jan. 16

Comcast Corp. Dec. 4 announced it would host an investor event on Jan. 16, 2020 to discuss NBCUniversal’s plans for its new Peacock streaming service, including the overarching strategy for the platform.

The service will be both ad-supported and subscription-based for Xfinity and non-pay-TV subscribers. It marks NBCUniversal’s first proprietary branded over-the-top video platform after years of largely ignoring streaming video in favor of the pay-TV business model.

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With the rise of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, which Comcast owned a stake in, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke reversed longstanding indifference to OTT video after competitors WarnerMedia, AT&T, Apple and Disney launched proprietary platforms.

The meeting will be webcast live on at www.cmcsa.com and a replay will be available shortly after the event concludes.

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Study: New SVOD Players to Challenge Netflix, YouTube Viewing Domination

The reign of Netflix and YouTube as top online video destinations globally is under threat from a new group of over-the-top platforms such as Disney+ and Apple TV+.

With HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock launching next year, global OTT video viewership will be fragmented further, according to new data from eMarketer.

The venerable dotcom research firm said Netflix in 2018 topped YouTube as the most-watched video service, with average daily consumption reaching 23.2 minutes compared to 22.3 minutes for YouTube.

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eMarketer claims, beginning in 2020, Netflix’s daily video consumption will decline from a peak of 27% to 25.7% by 2021. YouTube’s daily digital video time will drop from 23.4% to 21.7%.

“Even though Americans are spending more time watching Netflix, people’s attention will become more divided as new streamers emerge,” analyst Ross Benes said in statement. “The video streaming landscape will get crowded, which will drive down the share of time that people devote to Netflix.”

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While increased competition may impact Netflix’s global ranking, usage among its subscribers is projected to increase, according to eMarketer. Average daily Netflix viewing time among adult users is projected to increase 2.2% to 56.6 minutes per day in 2020.

2019 was the first year digital video topped 25.4% of users’ total digital consumption, which includes time spent on apps and surfing the Web, but excludes social media.

“Video streaming is a mainstream, daily routine for most U.S. adults, occurring on all devices and increasingly when viewers are on the go,” added analyst Oscar Orozco said. “In fact, an April 2019 study from OpenX found that nearly one-third of users of subscription streaming platforms say screen size has no impact on what they watch or for how long. Because of this, video will continue to be the main driver of digital media consumption in the coming years.”

Netflix Movie Catalog Down 40% Since 2014

Netflix’s catalog of feature-length movies is shrinking. The SVOD behemoth had 40% fewer movies (2,600 titles) to stream in November than it did during the same month five years ago.

As major studios pull back content for proprietary distribution and Netflix greenlights original feature-length titles, the service had 3,848 movies to stream as of Nov. 20. That compared to 6,494 titles in March 2014, according to new data from Streaming Observer.

NBC Universal, Fox, WarnerMedia, and Disney all continue to pull content from Netflix to underline their own streaming service ambitions.

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While Netflix’s domestic movie offerings have been in decline, the tally meets or exceeds the service’s feature-film catalog in its foreign regions:

Australia – 3,480
Canada – 3,844
Germany – 2,704
India – 3,515
Japan – 3,046
Mexico – 2,839
New Zealand – 3,436
United Kingdom – 3,710

Streaming Observer cites growing competition in the SVOD market for the movie drain. Until recently, just Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu had the resources to license movies from studios — with Netflix outbidding the others for premium titles (i.e. landmark Disney deal).

Now with Disney+, NBC’s Peacock, HBO Max and Hulu in or entering the OTT market, their studio parents continue to pull movies from Netflix and compete with it for any available properties.

As a result, Netflix has shifted its focus to developing proprietary movies and TV series rather than licensing outside content, spending billions over the last several years in the process.

While Netflix has significantly upped spending on original movies, production not surprisingly fails to match combined Hollywood output. The opposite is true for TV shows. Netflix has actually rebuilt its TV show library over the past few years from 1,197 shows in 2016 to 1,784 titles today.