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.