Comcast and NBCUniversal to Unveil Peacock Streaming Strategy at Investor Meeting

Todd Spangler

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Comcast and NBCUniversal are promising a deeper dive on Peacock, their entry into the streaming-video wars, at a presentation set for next month.

The company announced it will host an investor meeting on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, starting at 4 p.m. ET to discuss NBCU’s plans for the forthcoming Peacock streaming service, “including the overarching strategy for the platform.” The event will be held at NBCU’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza, with a live webcast to be available on the Comcast investor-relations site.

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Peacock is scheduled to launch in April 2020, partly for free — pay-TV subscribers who have cable TV service from parent company Comcast will have access for no additional charge. The service will also be available for a fee to non-cable subscribers, NBCU execs have said.

“We’re not doing the same strategy that Netflix and people chasing Netflix have adopted,” NBCU CEO Steve Burke said on Comcast’s third-quarter 2019 earnings call. “We’re working within the existing ecosystem where there is a lot of [advertising-supported VOD].”

In October, NBCU reshuffled the leadership of Peacock: It moved veteran TV exec Bonnie Hammer, who had been overseeing the company’s direct-to-consumer efforts, to chairman of NBCUniversal Content Studios (combining Universal Television and Universal Content Prods.). Now heading up Peacock as chairman is Matt Strauss, a longtime Comcast exec who most recently was EVP of the cable operator’s Xfinity services group.

Original dramas NBCU has announced for Peacock include a “Battlestar Galactica” reboot from Sam Esmail; “Dr. Death,” based on the podcast from Wondery of the same name, starring Alec Baldwin, Jamie Dornan and Christian Slater; “Brave New World” with Demi Moore; and “Armas de Mujer” from the team behind Telemundo’s “La Reina del Sur.” The service’s original comedies are set to include a revival of “Saved by the Bell” with original series cast members Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkle, along with shows from partners including Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Lorne Michaels, Mike Schur, Ed Helms, Jada Pinkett Smith, Rashida Jones and Tracey Wigfield.

Peacock will be home to popular sitcom “The Office” — which will move to Peacock from Netflix January 2021 — and “Parks and Recreation,” also exclusively on the service. To stock Peacock, NBCU also has licensed long-running favorites from other studios, including a deal with Sony Pictures Television for the rights to “Married With Children” and “The King of Queens.”

Other shows set to stream on Peacock include “30 Rock,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Cheers,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Frasier,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Will & Grace.” In addition, Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation will create original movies for Peacock. Peacock also will draw on NBCU’s news, sports, cable unscripted and Spanish-language divisions for additional programming.

On the distribution front, Peacock will be bundled into Comcast’s Flex streaming content service aimed at broadband-only customers. Comcast first charged a $5 monthly fee for Flex but switched in September to giving the Flex set-top box and voice remote free to all broadband customers.

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