Comcast might make Peacock free for everyone, report says

Peacock
Peacock will debut in April 2020. (NBCUniversal)

Comcast/NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service Peacock could end up being free for everyone, not just Comcast and Sky subscribers.

That’s according to CNBC’s Alex Sherman, who cited people familiar with the matter who said a plan to offer ad-supported Peacock for free to everyone is still under consideration. Comcast may also give its and other pay TV subscribers additional benefits or content not included with the free ad-supported version of Peacock available to everyone else.

Comcast’s plan for Peacock, which will launch in April 2020, also includes an ad-free version that charges a subscription fee.

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Last month, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said that his company is not deploying the same strategy for Peacock as Netflix and “people chasing Netflix” have adopted.

RELATED: NBCU names streaming service Peacock, sets original content and Olympics coverage

“We’re primarily working with the existing ecosystem and doing a lot of AVOD activity. What that’s going to do, we think, is cut the investment pretty substantially because I think we’re going to get to cruising altitude much more quickly than a subscription service,” Burke said during Comcast’s earnings call Thursday. He also said that Peacock will play to Comcast’s strengths, including its 55 million video customers (including Sky) and its role as the biggest provider of television advertising in the U.S.

Peacock will enter a streaming video market that is welcoming several new high-profile services from Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia and Quibi. Burke said the overall ecosystem and promotional intensity of these launches is not too surprising considering the three biggest media companies are all launching streaming services. But he predicted there will be an eventual shakeout, and the market will get more rational in the future.

Peacock is planning to debut in April and it will use the 2020 Summer Olympics as an “afterburner” after the launch. Burke said that NBCU will add a significant amount of content throughout 2020.

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