NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service is preparing to go live in the U.S. It is operating on a somewhat different model to competitors like Apple TV+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video. There is an incrementing scale of pricing, starting with a free tier. Even some paid-for tiers have advertising.
Peacock Stands Out
As a new report by the media analysis firm Enders Analysis noted:
Peacock stands out in the SVOD landscape as the closest thing to a digitally transitioned TV network with its advertising breaks, its free-to-air tier, and its diversified programming including news—featuring a new international service to be produced with Sky that could compete against CNN and BBC World News, nonexclusive to Peacock—and sport.
This could be a benefit – similarity to linear TV might make it more understandable to users. However, I suspect it is more of a disadvantage. Multiple price points are confusing. Most users are now accustomed to seeing advents when they are paying for a streaming service. The report also explained that NBCU sees a multi-tiered approach as a key differentiator
NBCU insisted that this was no copycat strategy but a genuine response to a serious problem, that of inadequate online audience monetisation.
Will we Put up With Adverts?
Basically, Peacock is hoping that we will put up with some ads in order to get free or cheaper content. Although its medium-tier is priced at the same level as Apple TV+ and still has adverts, NBCU would contend that its content offer is more compelling.
As SVOD retail prices have dramatically fallen with Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max announcing free offers to selected groups, NBCU took the logical decision of creating a fully-free tier with about 7,500 hours of content available. However, unlike its subscription-based peers, Peacock is not betting on a post-consolidation price increase, its approach is fully consistent with an ad-based model.
The battleground has been set – its original content vs sports, news, and nostalgia. Soon we will see if viewers want to head back to the future with Peacock.