NBC’s free streaming service Peacock hopes to cut through ‘subscription fatigue’

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NBC’s streaming service Peacock launches on July 15. One thing that sets it apart from other streamers? It’s free. Photo courtesy of NBC.

NBC’s streaming service Peacock rolled out a test run in April, and will fully launch on July 15. One way this streamer will be different from many of the others? It will be free, mostly. 

A no-cost, ad-supported version of Peacock will be available and include 7,500 hours of content, including classic NBC shows like “Law & Order” and “30 Rock,” plus some Universal movies. “The Office” will join in January 2021 (after it wraps up its deal with Netflix).  

Viewers with a cable or internet subscription through Xfinity or another Peacock partner will have access to “Peacock Premium,” which doubles the amount of content and offers full access to current shows on NBCUniversal channels. Everyone else can access this tier for $5 a month. For an additional $5 a month, viewers can watch Peacock without ads.  

Matt Strauss, the chairman of Peacock, told Variety that even before COVID-19, audiences were showing signs of “subscription fatigue.” Strauss believes that a free service is one way to overcome this fatigue and that audiences won’t mind sitting through ads. This could be especially true now when people are stuck at home because of the pandemic and looking for something comforting to watch on TV. 

In other streaming news, “Hamilton” made a big splash on Disney+ over the Fourth of July weekend. Viewers raved about the film version of the Broadway hit, but Disney hasn’t released streaming numbers. The company is likely saving that info for its next earnings call in August. That call is expected to be filled with bad news: Disney movies are still not in theaters, and theme parks are bringing in very little revenue.



Kaitlin Parker