Peacock (streaming service)
Peacock is an American over-the-top video streaming service owned and operated by the Television and Streaming division of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. Named after the NBC logo, the service launched on July 15, 2020.
The service primarily features content from NBCUniversal studios and other third-party content providers, including television series, films, news, and sports programming. The service is available in a free ad-supported version with limited content, while premium tiers include a larger content library and access to additional NBC Sports content, as well as WWE Network beginning in March 2021.
Early availability for Xfinity Flex customers began on April 15, 2020, with X1 customers receiving the preview by May 1. Nationwide release was July 15, 2020. By October, Peacock had reached more than 22 million users. By January 2021, Peacock had over 33 million users.
On January 14, 2019, NBCUniversal announced that it would launch an over-the-top streaming service in 2020, and at the same time announced a reorganization that created NBCUniversal Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises under chairman Bonnie Hammer. NBCUniversal announced the name "Peacock" and April 2020 availability on September 17, 2019. The announcement also included new original programming, NBCU property reboots, and that NBC series The Office and Parks and Recreation would be taken off rival streaming services Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video. The series would join the service once their exclusive streaming rights to rival streaming services expire, with Parks and Recreation joining in October 2020 and The Office joining in January 2021.
Morning Consult ranked Peacock as the second fastest growing brand of 2020.
Peacock has three tiers of service: Free, Premium, and Premium Plus. The Free tier has a subset of the content of the upper two tiers and targets its users with advertising. The middle tier, Peacock Premium, has the advertising as well but provides the full library of content. In both ad-supported tiers, commercials are limited to five minutes per hour. The upper tier, Peacock Premium Plus, provides the full library without ads. Peacock Free is available at no charge to all U.S. Internet users. Peacock Premium is available as a monthly subscription but also is included in some services from TV service providers including Xfinity and Cox. Subscribers to Peacock Premium, whether subscribing directly or receiving service through a provider, can upgrade to the ad-free service, Peacock Premium Plus, for an additional monthly cost.
On May 6, 2020, a distribution deal with Apple was announced making Peacock available on iOS devices and Apple TV upon launch and Peacock content listed in the Apple TV app with the ability to subscribe to Peacock Premium as an in-app purchase.
On July 20, 2020, the service became available on PlayStation 4.
On June 23, 2020, Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment announced that it had acquired exclusive Canadian broadcast rights to Peacock original programming.
On September 18, 2020, NBCUniversal and Roku reached an agreement to add Peacock to Roku's devices in the United States, narrowly avoiding a blackout of NBCUniversal's TV Everywhere apps due to a dispute over revenue sharing and advertising inventory assignment. On September 21, Peacock officially launched on Roku.
The service is drawn primarily from the NBCUniversal library, including subsidiaries such as Universal Pictures and Universal Television. It is suggested to include at least 15,000 hours of content on-launch without a subscription, and an additional 5,000 hours of content for Premium subscribers. Current episodes of NBC series will become available on Peacock the day after their premiere for Premium subscribers; non-subscribers will receive them on a week's delay. On January 26, 2020, it was announced that The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers will stream on Peacock at 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. ET, respectively, ahead of their television premieres on NBC. The decision, however, was criticized by many of NBC's affiliate groups out of concern that the "pre-airs" of both late-night talk shows on Peacock would cannibalize viewership for the shows on local NBC stations.
Peacock also offers a lineup of around 25 curated digital linear channels, featuring long-form and digital-originated programming content from NBCUniversal's broadcast and cable properties (such as Today All Day, a digital extension of NBC's morning show Today), as well as third-party content providers. They are designed to emulate a traditional broadcast programming experience (similar to services such as Pluto TV and Xumo, the latter of which was purchased by NBCUniversal parent Comcast in February 2020).
On December 23, 2019, Lionsgate announced that it would license library content for Peacock, as part of a larger agreement by Comcast to renew its carriage of Starz. In turn, NBCUniversal will license content for StarzPlay in the U.S. and internationally. On January 16, 2020, Peacock acquired the streaming rights to the Warner Bros. Television series Two and a Half Men and George Lopez, the Paramount Network series Yellowstone, as well as The Matrix films. In February 2020, A&E Networks licensed some titles from the A&E and History libraries to Peacock.
On July 1, 2020, ViacomCBS announced that it would non-exclusively license some of its television series and films to Peacock, such as The Affair, Everybody Hates Chris, Ray Donovan, and Undercover Boss among others. The service will also hold rights to several Paramount Pictures films under a limited exclusivity window from 2021 to 2023.
On July 14, 2020, the service acquired the Canadian drama Departure for a U.S. premiere.
On July 17, 2020, Cinedigm announced that they had licensed over a dozen films and three streaming channels for Peacock's launch, with hundreds of other films and television episodes to follow.
On January 25, 2021, professional wrestling promotion WWE (who has NBCU-owned USA Network as rightsholder for two of its weekly programs, Raw and NXT) announced that NBCUniversal had acquired the exclusive U.S. distribution rights to its streaming service WWE Network, and that its content will be folded into a branded channel on Peacock beginning March 18, 2021. WWE Network will be available to Peacock Premium subscribers at no additional cost; as before, it will consist of a video on-demand library and a linear channel, and include access to content from WWE's library (including past WWE television series and events), original programming, and all WWE pay-per-view events. WWE is committing to produce a "signature documentary" for the service annually beginning in 2022.
In January 2020, NBC announced that the service would carry non-televised Premier League soccer matches and NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games. On July 9, 2020, NBC announced that the NBC Sports Gold Premier League Pass would be discontinued and its content moved into Peacock Premium at no additional charge, offering 175 Premier League matches not on television per-season, along with on-demand replays of all matches. As part of the national launch, all matches played on July 15, 2020 were carried exclusively by Peacock for free.
Other NBC Sports Gold services have also been subsumed by Peacock Premium, including Figure Skating Pass, Rugby Pass, Snow Pass, motorcross, speed skating, and IndyCar Pass. After NBCSN's planned discontinuation by the end of 2021, Peacock is expected to subsume some of its programming in 2022.
The service was to feature an international news channel, known as NBC Sky World News, as part of a joint venture with Sky News (whose parent company Sky Group had been recently acquired by Comcast), but the proposed service was scrapped in August 2020. The previously existing Sky News channel is carried on the service, as it is also viewable on other U.S. providers such as Apple TV and ViacomCBS's Pluto TV.
In October 2020 (during the leadup to the 2020 presidential election), NBC News launched a new channel on Peacock known as The Choice, which features new original news and opinion programs. At launch, these included The Majority Report with Sam Seder, The Mehdi Hasan Show, and Zerlina.
In January 2021, Peacock premiered The Overview, a new weekly series hosted by Gadi Schwartz.
In February 2021, Peacock premiered “The Widower”, Dateline NBC’s first docuseries.