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NBCU soars into streaming wars with Peacock

By Andrew Blustein, Reporter

September 17, 2019 | 3 min read

Taking inspiration from its longstanding logo, Comcast-owned NBC Universal (NBCU) has unveiled its streaming service dubbed Peacock.

NBCU's Peacock is set to debut April 2020

NBCU's Peacock is set to debut April 2020

The service, which will launch in April 2020 ahead of the Summer Olympics, will feature 15,000 hours of content – including exclusive rights to sitcoms The Office and Parks and Recreation, and a slate of originals, such as a drama series with Alec Baldwin.

NBCU first presented its streaming plans during its May upfront presentation. Today (17 September), the network announced it will launch both an ad-free and ad-supported version of Peacock, but will provide further details on pricing and distribution closer to launch.

Peacock is the latest in offering in the ever-growing streaming space. Apple and Disney are set to launch their services, Apple+ and Disney+, in November. AT&T’s WarnerMedia is countering with HBO Max, which will debut in next spring.

As the country’s largest cable operator, Comcast may have a built-in marketing advantage as it can integrate Peacock into its 21m-plus distribution platforms.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the cable giant will likely partner with competing pay-TV providers, making Peacock available to consumers with a pay-TV subscription for free. Comcast is then likely to offer Peacock to cord-cutters for a fee.

NBCU has exclusive US broadcast rights to the Summer Olympics, which start in July 2020. Earlier this summer, Dan Lovinger, executive vice-president of ad sales at NBC Sports Group, hinted at the possibility of NBCU’s streaming service including Olympics content as the network gears up its pitch to advertisers.

Bonnie Hammer, chairman of direct-to-consumer and digital enterprises, confirmed Peacock will cover both the Olympics and the 2020 election.

“The name Peacock pays homage to the quality content that audiences have come to expect from NBCUniversal – whether it’s culture-defining dramas from innovative creators like Sam Esmail, laugh-out-loud comedies from legends like Lorne Michaels and Mike Schur, blockbusters from Universal Pictures, or buzzy unscripted programming from the people who do it best at Bravo and E!,” she said.

“Peacock will be the go-to place for both the timely and timeless – from can’t-miss Olympic moments and the 2020 election, to classic fan favorites like The Office.”

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