Peacock Preview: What to Know About Comcast’s Soon-to-Launch Streaming Service

Comcast is due to reveal more details about Peacock at an investor event on Jan. 16.
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Comcast is set to reveal details about Peacock, its soon-to-launch streaming service, later this week.

At an investor day scheduled for Jan. 16, the cable giant is expected to disclose more information about Peacock, including pricing, a business plan and other details. Comcast  (CMCSA) - Get Report plans to launch Peacock in April of this year, joining Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Report, Disney+  (DIS) - Get Report, Apple TV+  (APPL) , and Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Report Prime Video in the streaming field. AT&T  (T) - Get Report WarnerMedia is launching HBO Max in May.

Late last year, Comcast executives said that Peacock would leverage the company’s media holdings, which include NBC Universal, Xfinity, Universal Pictures, Telemundo. They also sketched out a basic vision for how Peacock will differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded streaming market, and what it will mean for Comcast’s bottom line. 

Here’s what we know so far about Peacock.

1. SVOD Meets AVOD

In its pricing strategy, Comcast is likely taking a page out of Hulu’s book in offering both SVOD (subscription video on demand) and AVOD (ad-based video on demand) options. Disney-owned Hulu sells a $6-per-month ad-supported version in addition to a $12 ad-free tier, and Peacock is said to include multiple tiers as well. CNBC reported in December that three versions of Peacock will be available at launch: A free, ad-supported option, a $5 per month option with limited ads, and an ad-free tier for about $10 per month. The free version will have a more limited content offering. Last year, Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh said that Peacock would target “underserved” demand for ad-based streaming.

2. Live TV

Peacock will have something that no other major streaming service does, with the exception of Alphabet’s YouTube TV: Live programming. Given that Comcast owns NBCUniversal, Telemundo, and numerous TV channels, that may be an intriguing value proposition for cord cutters. Outside of live TV, Comcast also announced an initial programming slate that includes reboots of classic shows such as "Punky Brewster" and "Saved by the Bell," reruns of "The Office" and other shows, and original series and talk shows. Comcast is also reportedly in talks to buy Xumo, a free, ad-supported TV service that could boost its technical capabilities. 

3. Financial Outlook

Last year, Comcast's Cavanagh likened the business plan for Peacock to that of Xfinity Mobile, Comcast's wireless carrier service. He said that Comcast will invest "probably about $2 billion" in Peacock content and marketing over the next two years, and that he expects the service to break even in year five of its existence: "It's a completely reasonable and logical and exciting investment for us to make," he said. Comcast hasn't established any subscriber targets for Peacock, but investors can look for more details on the financial outlook for the service this Thursday.