NBC hopes ‘free’ makes Peacock stand out in streaming era

NEW YORK (AP) — NBCUniversal is launching a new streaming service that will have a large part available for free, an approach it hopes will resonate with people who aren’t interested in traditional TV. The service, Peacock, will debut April 15 for customers of Comcast, NBCUniversal’s parent company. Everyone else will get it on July 15, just before the Olympics.

NBCUniversal hopes to position Peacock as broader than the other major streaming services already out there. It will soon offer news, sports and reality TV along with shows and movies — just like a traditional broadcast TV network, but with fewer ads, at five minutes an hour.

“It’s a smart move for them to try to pivot into a new space that hasn’t really been tapped into yet,” said IHS Markit Media Analyst Sarah Henschel.

Peacock’s stated ambitions for subscribers are, for now, smaller than those of rival Disney, however. And not everything is immediately going to Peacock. NBCUniversal will continue to send shows and movies it makes to other companies, too.

Peacock will have 15,000 hours of programming, including original content from the NBC library like The Office which leaves Netflix for Peacock in 2021, and shows from other studios including Two and A Half Man. Other standout shows and movies include Jurassic Park, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, and Law and Order and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

The logo for NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service, Peacock, is displayed on a computer screen. PHOTO: AP