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Peacock Makes a Move to Challenge Disney’s Hulu

Comcast's streaming service has also struck a deal with a major movie studio.

NBC launched its streaming service Peacock nearly two years ago. 

If that seems surprising to you, the Covid-19 pandemic warped our collective sense of time — but it can also be a bit easy to forget that Peacock even exists.

Comcast’s  (CCZ)  entry into the streaming wars has a lot going for it, including an extensive catalog of films from the Universal Studios library, as well as classic NBC sitcoms such as “The Office” and “Cheers.” 

It’s also the rare streaming service that has a free option. You can access more exclusive content by signing up for an ad-light and an ad-free tier.

So far, Peacock has been trailing behind the other streaming services. 

At the end of last year, Netflix  (NFLX)  had 214 million total subscribers and Disney+  (DIS)  trailed closely behind with 118 million total subscriptions.

"[Peacock had] 54 million total subscribers with more than 20 million active accounts,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. 

Earlier this year, NBC Universal announced plans to spend $5 billion on content for the service, a sign that parent company Comcast was in it to win it.

A few months ago, the company served one of its strongest salvos yet, announcing that in the fall, NBC shows like “Saturday Night Live,” “The Voice” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” will only be available on Peacock the day after they air.

They will also no longer be available on Disney’s other streaming service, Hulu.

That move was to be expected, as exclusivity is the name of the game in the streaming world. 

But now Peacock has made a more surprising move and netted a big get.

What Channel Did Peacock Nab From Hulu?

Back when there were far fewer streaming services, Hulu didn’t have a catalog as large as Netflix, and it had fewer buzzed-about original shows. 

Eventually tiles like “PEN15” and “The Handmaid's Tale” went a ways towards solving this problem.

But one of Hulu’s big selling points over Netflix was that it had new episodes of programs like “Bob’s Burgers” and “Saturday Night Live” the day after they aired, whereas with Netflix you had to wait for an entire season to conclude.

Now Peacock has taken a page out of Hulu’s book, and has struck a deal with the network Bravo, which specializes in guilty pleasure reality TV. 

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Starting this fall, fans can watch new episodes of “Vanderpump Rules,” “Below Deck Sailing Yacht,” and “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” the day after they air. 

Peacock will also have all the previous seasons of everything in the Bravo catalog — including a lot of Kardashian-related content — which currently resides on Hulu.

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Who Else Has Peacock Partnered With?

In February, Peacock signaled it was comfortable taking bigger swings. 

On Valentine’s Day weekend it premiered “Marry Me,” a new romantic comedy from Owen Wilson and Jennifer Lopez. 

The film, which was also available in theaters, was one of its most high-profile moves, building on the success Peacock had seen by premiering “Halloween Kills.” 

It became Peacock’s biggest day and date releases and one of its most popular films.

Now, Peacock is taking further steps to become a hub for film fans by partnering with the entertainment company Lionsgate. 

Starting this year all Lionsgate films will land on Peacock, and starting in 2023 they exclusively be on Peacock. 

At the moment, some films will exclusively premiere on Starz for a while before moving to Roku for a brief period, and then onto Peacock.

Some of the Lionsgate titles expected to hit Peacock include the current Nicolas Cage indie hit“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” the highly anticipated “John Wick: Chapter 4” starring Keanu Reeves, and the Hunger Games prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

NBC Universal to Make Exclusive Films For Peacock

In addition to striking deals with Bravo and Lionsgate, NBC Universal has announced it will make three films that will premiere on Peacock exclusively last year.

Also Monday, Peacock announced three upcoming original films from corporate cousin Universal Pictures, slated to premiere on the service in 2023:

  • “Shooting Stars” will be the first film to come from NBC Universal’s production deal with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Co, and follows James’ origin story as a high-school basketball player.
  • “Praise This” is comedy from the producer of “Girls Trip,” the movie stars Chloe Bailey as the newest member of a community’s church choir who pushes them in a hipper direction, with hijinks ensuing. 
  • In a truly surprising move, director John Woo has agreed to redo his 1989 action-thriller classic “The Killer” for the streaming service.