Peacock: NBC’s New Streaming Service Will Be Free

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Peacock is video streaming service from NBCUniversal that is set to launch in April 2020.

And the best part? A portion of it is going to be available to consumers for free.

In a move the company compared to music streaming leader Spotify, Peacock announced in January that it will have both a free tier and premium subscription options.

The free tier, which will be ad-supported, will have more than 7,500 hours of current season series, movies, TV classics, as well as live streaming news and sports channels. A premium subscription will be required to unlock the full experience, which will include original content and more than 15,000 hours of total content for $4.99. You’ll also the option to pay for an ad-free experience ($9.99 total, including original content).

It’s a pricing strategy that give NBC hopes of competing with the likes of streaming stalwarts like Netflix and Hulu, as well as new subscription offerings from Disney, HBO and Apple.

Will it be able to differentiate itself in a suddenly cluttered marketplace? That’s what we’re hoping to find out prior to the launch of Peacock in the coming months.

In this article, Team Clark will explore the information available so far about Peacock to try to help you decide if it’s worth a try as a new entertainment option.

Table of Contents

What Is Peacock?

Peacock is a yet-to-be launched streaming service from NBCUniversal. It will have both a free tier and a paid subscription tier, and will feature content from NBC classics like The Office and Cheers, in addition to a good deal of original content.

Reboots of popular series like Saved By The Bell and Punky Brewster are expected to be a part of the original content offering from Peacock. In total, there will be more than 15,000 hours of content available on Peacock.

You may be wondering why NBCUniversal chose to call it Peacock. This is a nod to the classic peacock-themed NBC logo that was developed in the early days of the network’s television broadcasting.

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With streaming now considered the “next frontier” for many traditional television content producers, it makes sense that NBC would want to keep that iconic branding attached to the project while creating some differentiation between the  traditional broadcast network and the new streaming service.

How Can I Get Peacock?

Peacock is not yet available. Here’s what we know so far:

Release Date

Peacock will launch on April 15, 2020 for Xfinity X1 and Flex customers. If you don’t have that early-bird access, it appears that July 15 will be the target launch date for everyone else. NBC has been touting Peacock as a key part of its 2020 Olympics coverage, and this July launch date is anticipated to coincide with that.

Price

NBCUniversal announced that there will be a free tier of streaming, as well as premium subscriptions that runs as low as $4.99 per month.

Peacock Free will be the free service that includes ad-supported access to live streams and 7,500 hours of on-demand content.

Peacock Premium will cost $4.99 per month. Cox and Comcast cable customers are set to receive it for free. NBC expects to announce more partners that could provide the premium service for free between now and the release date.

The premium option will net users access to more than 15,000 hours of content, including all of Peacock’s upcoming original content. Per NBC, “premium customers can upgrade to an ad-free experience for an additional $5.00 per month, or any customer can purchase the ad-free experience directly for $9.99 per month.”

This is a bold move that targets commercial-based advertisement as the primary source of review. This strategy runs opposed to that used by other new services, such as Disney+, which is based upon a monthly subscription fee as the primary source of revenue.

Devices

There is not yet a complete list of devices that will support the Peacock streaming service. We do know that Peacock plans to have a mobile app, which presumable will be available on both the Android and iOS platforms. Expectations are that the service will be available via streaming devices, smart TVs and the web.

What TV Series and Movies Are on Peacock?

With the extensive library of NBC television programming and Universal films at the service’s disposal, there should be an exciting list of popular content available via Peacock.

NBCUniversal announced in January 2020 that it will be a content mix of “dozens” of streaming channels combined with thousands of hours of on-demand streaming from a library of bot legacy and original content. The live streaming options will include NBC Sports, NBC News and access to NBC stalwarts like The Today Show and Meet the Press.

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One of the new service’s biggest draws will be being the exclusive home of popular NBC comedy The Office. While currently available for streaming on Netflix, it has been reported that all nine seasons of the show will move to Peacock by January 2021.

Here’s a look at some of the television content that is slated to be a part of Peacock’s offerings:

TV Series

  • The Office
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Cheers
  • Will & Grace
  • 30 Rock
  • Friday Night Lights
  • House
  • Downton Abbey
  • King of Queens
  • Frazier
  • The Real Housewives franchise
  • The Law & Order franchises
  • Two and a Half Men
  • The George Lopez Show

One major NBC classic that will be missing from Peacock is Seinfeld. Streaming rights to the popular 1990s television series recently were acquired by Netflix. Friends, another iconic NBC show, will move from Netflix to HBO Max in 2020.

There also will be a wide array of films available through Peacock, including:

Movies

  • E.T.
  • Jaws
  • The Bourne franchise
  • The Fast & Furious franchise
  • Casino
  • Despicable Me
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Bridesmaids
  • Knocked Up
  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Field of Dreams
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Meet the Parents

Original Content on Peacock

In the fight for the cord-cutting market share, streaming services are hustling to create their own new content in addition to managing the availability of established content. Peacock is no different in that regard.

The network’s original content will only be available to Peacock Premium subscribers.

Here are just some of the plans for original content:

  • Saved By The Bell: A reboot of the popular 1990s teen comedy will include original series stars Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano)
  • A.P. Bio: After two seasons on NBC, this classroom comedy starring Glenn Howerton and Patton Oswalt will move to the streaming service for Season 3
  • Battlestar Galactica: A yet-to-be titled reboot of the popular sci-fi series
  • Girls5Eva: A Tina Fey-produced show about a one-hit wonder 90s band getting back together
  • Punky Brewster: Another reboot from the popular 1980s sitcom
  • Who Wrote That: A Saturday Night Live docu-series from creator Lorne Michaels
  • Rutherford Falls: A comedy starring Ed Helms
  • Straight Talk: A comedy featuring Rashida Jones and Jada Pinkett Smith
  • Hitmen: A racing series from former NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • Intelligence: A comedy starring former Friends star David Schwimmer

There also will be original content from NBC late-night television stars Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers on the platform.

Peacock vs. Other New Streaming Services

In a space that once was dominated by streaming stalwarts Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, there has been a recent push by major brands like NBC, Disney, WarnerMedia and Apple to get non-live streaming subscription services in place.

All four have new services that will have launched within eight months of each other, leaving consumers with some tough decisions to make. While we have some more complete breakdowns of each of these services, here’s a quick overview of what each of Peacock’s competitors will offer:

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Disney+

Launched in November 2019 with a $6.99 monthly subscription rate, Disney+ relies on five major brand pillars for this streaming service: Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic. With a mix of Disney classics and new original movies and series, this service is already a hit — especially in households with children. Read more about Disney+ here.

HBO Max

WarnerMedia is launching a new streaming service with the premium HBO branding behind it in May 2020. This will not replace HBO NOW, but it will have many of the perks of that subscription combined with new original content series. HBO Max also will have exclusive rights to Friends, which has most recently been available on Netflix. At $14.99, this service will be one of the more expensive non-live subscriptions on the market. Read more about HBO Max here.

Apple TV+

Apple launched Apple TV+ in November 2019 with a surprisingly low price tag of just $4.99 per month. This platform is for original content and has an emphasis on quality over quantity. At this time it does not carry quite the variety of entertainment that Peacock is planning, but it is possible that it ends up being a better value. Read more about Apple TV+ here.

Final Thoughts on Peacock

Peacock will be entering a crowded streaming space when it launches in April 2020, but there are reasons for NBCUniversal to be optimistic that it will have success.

First and foremost, the decision to make portions of Peacock free with the support of advertisements may be the biggest differentiator for this service.

Next, The Office has an extremely loyal following. Having the exclusive streaming rights to the Dunder Mifflin gang is going to be enough to get some people to give the service a trial run. But that doesn’t happen until January 2021, so Peacock will have to bide its time until then.

The reboots of Saved By The Bell and Punky Brewster are going to be interesting. It feels like a move out of the Netflix playbook, which was able to successfully reboot a similarly successful sitcom from that era in Full House with Fuller House. Other original projects have big names behind them, so there is hope for viral success.

Will you be looking to add Peacock to your streaming options in 2020? Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

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