Comcast/NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service is set to launch nationally in the US on July 15, in a free, ad-supported version and a premium ad-supported version that will be free to Comcast and Cox cable TV subscribers and available at $4.99 a month to other consumers.
And among the 400 TV shows and 600 movies available on the service will be a number of new UK-produced originals. The British content will include the BBC’s drama thriller The Capture, Channel 4 comedy Lady Parts, and three comedies from Sky Studios, production arm of the European TV giant that Comcast bought last year: Intelligence with David Schwimmer, Code 404, and Hitmen.
The launch date and pricing were among details of the service revealed during a presentation to investors on Thursday at NBCU headquarters in New York on Thursday (January 16). NBCU did not, however, announce any firm plans for international expansion of Peacock. Service chairman Matt Strauss said only that NBCU will provide information on its international plans “at a later date.”
“We do anticipate taking Peacock to markets outside the US over time,” Strauss said, “and we will be methodical in evaluating the international opportunities on a market-by-market basis.”
When those plans are revealed, Peacock is expected to leverage Sky’s subscriber bases in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy and Spain, and the company’s Now TV VOD offering, the technology for which also powers Peacock.
During the investor presentation, executives announced deals bringing producer Dick Wolf’s multiple Law And Order and Chicago series to Peacock, as well as recent drama series Yellowstone, and hit sitcom Two And A Half Men.
Peacock also revealed a multi-year partnership with Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud network.
Tina Fey-produced series Girls5Eva was announced as a new original series and newly unveiled scripted originals in development include comedies Expecting from Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler’s Division One, and Norman Lear’s Clean Slate, together with Hatching Twitter, the first season of a drama anthology about the rise of the social media giant. The new projects join a development slate that already includes a rebooted US version of British LGBTQ-themed drama series Queer As Folk.
Also included in the service’s more than 15,000 hours of content will be original drama series including a Battlestar Galactica reboot from writer/producer Sam Esmail, an adaptation of Brave New World with Alden Ehrenreich, limited series Angelyne with Emmy Rossum, and Armas De Mujer with Mexican star Kate del Castillo.
On the feature side, Peacock will draw from the libraries of Universal, DreamWorks, Illumination and Focus Features to offer titles such as Jurassic Park, E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial, and Shrek.
The service will have exclusive streaming rights to Universal’s 2020 slate and beyond in the network window, with Fast & Furious 9 and Jurassic World 3 among the offerings. In addition, Universal is developing original films for Peacock.
Marking Comcast’s entry into the streaming wars, Peacock will be offered early, from April 15, to customers of the Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms. And after its full national launch subscribers to the premium ad-supported version will be able to upgrade to an ad-free version for an additional $5 a month. Other consumers will be able to get the ad-free version for $9.99 a month.
Comcast said it expects Peacock – which will be competing with new streaming offerings from Apple, Disney and, by later this year, WarnerMedia – to reach 30m-35m active accounts by 2024. One analyst has predicted the service will reach 18m consumers by the end of this year and 40m by the end of 2023.
At the start of the investor presentation NBCU chairman Steve Burke explained how the company arrived at its decision to focus on an ad-supported AVOD model rather than the subscription-based models adopted by rivals.
“As we looked at the market we found it interesting that no one’s focused on primarily ad-supported premium content – in effect it’s a white space,” Burke explained.
“Obviously there will be a number of streaming options in the future and we think we’re in the very early innings of a market that will change significantly and take many years to settle in. However, with the combined scale, scope and expertise of Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky… we think we’re well positioned to adapt and win in a dynamic marketplace. We like the idea of zigging when others zag.”