Peacock, NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, is ready to flaunt its colorful library of content and its attention-grabbing price point of $0.
But will the new service stick out among the litany of streaming offerings that are already available? That’s the question that’s about to be answered for NBCUniversal’s parent company, Comcast, and the rest of the media world.
The service launches nationally on Wednesday. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Is it really free?
Is the $0 price tag too good to be true? Yes and no. The service will have both ad-supported and ad-free options.
“Peacock Free” is the free, ad-supported option for any consumer regardless of cable provider. That option comes with roughly 13,000 hours of programming.
“Peacock Premium” is the option that will cost you.
It has two price tiers: The first, which has ads, costs $4.99, and the second, without ads, costs $9.99. “Premium” comes with more content — around 20,000 hours worth. “Premium” users will get everything in the free tier plus other content such as Peacock Originals and earlier access to NBC’s late night programming like “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” starting at 8:00 pm ET.
So “Peacock Premium” is a tad bit more expensive than Disney+ but it still costs less than WarnerMedia’s new service, HBO Max, and Netflix. (WarnerMedia is CNN’s parent company.)
What does it offer?
Peacock offers a ton of sitcoms like “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock” and multiple seasons of “Saturday Night Live.”
“The Office,” one of the most popular series in streaming, will be exclusive to the service but won’t be available until next year when it leaves Netflix.
Blockbusters from Universal Pictures such as movies in the “Fast & Furious” franchise and classics like “Jurassic Park” and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” will be on the service.
“Premium” users will also be able to watch many of NBC’s shows the day after they air. “Free” users will be able to watch shows the next week. There will be new content, too. Peacock’s original lineup includes series such as “Brave New World” starring Demi Moore and reboots of old favorites like “Saved By the Bell” and “Battlestar Galactica.”
Overall, Peacock will offer more than 600 films and 400 series.
And it will have something that many streaming services don’t: news and sports.
Premier League soccer will be on the service, as will “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” and “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.”
Wait, didn’t Peacock launch already?
Yes, Peacock launched on April 15 for Comcast’s X1 and Flex customers. It will debut nationally on Wednesday.
NBCUniversal was hoping to use its telecast of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to help boost attention for the new service. However, the coronavirus pandemic forced the games to be postponed until next year.
Can it compete in the crowded streaming space?
NBC said it expects to reach 30 million to 35 million active accounts by 2024, but will consumers want to sign up for another streaming service? Only time will tell.
But aside from its extensive library, Peacock’s most significant advantage is that is has a free tier. That could give NBCUniversal’s new service a leg up on its competitors as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rock
s the economy, leaving millions out of work.
“It’s free, and that’s appealing to consumers in a down economy,” Laura Martin, senior media analyst at Needham & Company, told CNN Business. “The fact that it’s free gives it an advantage compared to many other services that require a subscription.”
However, the downside for Peacock is that it’s coming at the tail end of the launches of many new services like Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max. As the last major streaming service to go to market, Peacock may have an issue grabbing consumers who have a limited amount of disposable income.
“It’s late,” Martin said. “They had a brilliant strategy to use the Olympics as a launching pad, but that’s been delayed a year. So most consumers have not even heard of Peacock.”