Peacock, the online video service from Comcast, is now available as preview to millions of its customers with Xfinity X1 and Flex services and is due to launch nationally across the United States in mid-July. With millions of Americans at home as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the company is considering bringing the wider launch forward. Peacock draws on some of the resources of Sky, now owned by Comcast, using its streaming expertise and technology from Now TV.
Matt Strauss, the chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal digital enterprises, said that the company is evaluating launching nationally before the originally planned date of 15 July.
With video viewing rising as a result of coronavirus restrictions keeping people at home, Peacock may be missing out on a captive audience.
A free, ad-supported basic offering will be available. Peacock Premium, which has twice as much programming, will be available for $5 a month, or $10 for a version without advertisements.
The shutdown of productions is causing issues that will “materially limit” the slate of original productions for rest of the year and a “significant” number of originals will now debut in 2021.
However, it has created opportunities to work with artists in ways that may not have been possible if they had been committed to other productions that are now closed.
The Olympic Games were to be featured on Peacock but will now be postponed until 2021 at the earliest.
“In many ways, it’s where the future for our business is,” the chairman of Peacock said, “so you’ll hear us continue to discuss additional content that we’ll want to make available on Peacock over time.”
In a note to staff, he and NBCU chief executive Jeff Shell wrote: “With much of the country hunkered down at home right now, demand for entertainment and news is at an all-time high. Our unique strategy to offer a free service with limited commercials that leans heavily into library titles and topical content, feels like just what every American wants right now.”