Surprise… NBC goes free with Peacock streaming service, but with ads

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Peacock from NBCUniversal
NBCUniversal decided to call its streaming-video service Peacock. And the jokes practically write themselves.
Photo: NBC Universal

NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock will employ a distinctly different pricing strategy than Apple TV+, Netflix and other competitors. It’ll be free, but with advertisements.

Those willing to pay will have access to additional content, however.

NBCUniversal Peacock offers free and not-free options

Peacock Free will have more than 7,500 hours of programming, including next-day access to current seasons of freshman series running on NBC. There will also be complete classic series, movies and curated daily news, as well as sports. That includes the Olympics — significant with the Tokyo summer games this year.

All of this programming will come with commercial interruptions. Big-name advertisers are already on board, including State Farm, Target and Unilever.

Peacock Premium adds another 7,500 hours of programming. That includes original and tent-pole series, next-day access to current seasons of all NBC series, early access to late-night talk shows, and additional sports, such as Premier League soccer.

NBCUniversal announced a slate of original programs, including a Battlestar Galactica reboot, a new version of Saved By the Bell. And Soleil Moon Frye will star as a grown-up Punky Brewster. The service will offer classics like The Office and Parks and Recreation.

Cylon warrior from Battlestar Galactica
A Cylon warrior from the classic Battlestar Galactica is not amused by your Peacock puns.
Photo: NBCUniversal

This Premium version will be available free to the 24 million Comcast and Cox subscribers. For everyone else, it’s $4.99 per month. There will be apps for mobile devices and video players.

Like the free version, Peacock Premium also includes commercials. An ad-free experience costs an additional $5.00 per month, even for those already paying $4.99 for the service.

Xfinity X1 and Flex subscribers get access to Peacock Premium starting April 15. Everyone else has to wait until July 15, just in time for the Olympics.

Not like the others

Offering a basic tier of its streaming service for free — albeit with ads — sets NBCUniversal apart from rivals. Apple charges $4.99 a month for its service, and Disney+ is $6.99 a month. Netflix starts at $8.99 per month.

That said, all these services aren‘t directly competing. Many people will subscribe to Peacock, Apple TV+ and others to get access to their original programming.

Source: NBC