NBCUniversal's new Peacock streaming service should have an immediate appeal to viewers: a free version.
That could quickly boost advertising on the new service, which the company unveiled Thursday. Peacock will launch in mid-July.
NBCUniversal owner Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) saw its stock close more than 1% higher Thursday in anticipation of the release of details about the latest entrant into the streaming wars.
What Peacock Offers
Peacock will have three tiers, with two premium tiers in addition to the ad-supported free service.
The top version will cost $9.99 a month and will be ad-free. The middle version is $4.99 a month and will have ads. Comcast cable subscribers and some other cable customers will have access to the ad-free version for $5 a month and the middle-tier version for free.
The top-tier premium version will offer subscribers live sports and early viewing of some late-night shows, as well as the English Premier League soccer games that aren't televised on the regular NBC channels.
The premium tiers will have about 15,000 hours of programming, including several planned originals. The free version will have less content.
The advertising-supported free model, and the benefits to existing Comcast cable customers, are meant to help the company walk a tightrope of joining the streaming model, where much of TV viewing seems to be going, but without cutting too heavily into its cable subscriptions.
Comcast subscribers also receive another benefit: they'll have access to the service in April, two months before the regular July 15 launch date.
The free version could draw viewers away from the more established streaming services that are already available, including those from Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) and two high-profile, recently launched competitors, Walt Disney Co's (NYSE: DIS) Disney + and Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL) Apple +.
Disney's service is $7 a month and Apple's is $5. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s new HBO Max streaming service, at $15 a month, launches in May.
Comcast Price Action
Comcast shares were up 1.27% at $46.87 at the close Thursday.
Nomura: Netflix, Amazon 'Best Positioned' In The Streaming Wars
Photo courtesy of NBCUniversal.
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