NBCUniversal is set to fully enter the streaming wars next week. Variety took a look at the story behind the Peacock service, which has suffered delays to some of its major launch productions.
Most of the Peacock originals slate has been delayed by COVID-19. The service will come out with just nine originals, which include a slick series adaptation of “Brave New World” and U.K.-set workplace comedy “Intelligence,” starring David Schwimmer. The Summer Olympics were postponed until 2021, depriving the launch of some valuable promotional real estate. And with two weeks before go time, Peacock had deals for Apple, Google, Xbox and Vizio and LG TVs, but still had not clinched distribution pacts with Roku or Amazon Fire TV, the two biggest over-the-top TV device makers (which also have been holdouts on HBO Max). But Strauss remains undeterred, convinced that Peacock’s greatest potential lies in the free-to-watch tier with a light advertising load that promises no more than 5 minutes of commercials per hour. NBCU’s theory is that “Free as a bird” will resonate with millions of Americans who are financially strapped or just too maxed out to pay for yet another streaming package.