NBCU readies Peacock preview launch despite COVID-19 impact

Peacock
Peacock Premium will be included free for X1 and Flex customers and it will cost $4.99 per month (or $9.99/month without ads) for everyone else. (NBCUniversal)

Peacock Premium for Comcast subscribers launches tomorrow as NBCUniversal faces content delays and other issues caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Matt Strauss, chairman at Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, said the service will begin rolling on April 15 for Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and will be fully available to Comcast subscribers by the end of April. On July 15, the service will launch nationwide on multiple platforms including Cox. Strauss said that, with so many Americans stuck at home because of the virus, Comcast is evaluating an earlier launch date for Peacock, but for now July is still the target.

During a press conference Tuesday, Strauss applauded the Peacock team for maintaining the original launch timeline despite most of the team needing to work from home. However, Peacock will be dealing with lots of content delays when it does get here.

Peacock already lost a big chunk of its marquee launch content when the 2020 Summer Olympics got pushed to 2021. With the coronavirus pausing many ongoing productions, Peacock will have to get through 2020 without many of its original series as well. Strauss said originals including “Brave New World” and the “Psych” movie will be ready in July, and he said the company’s optimistic that “Saved By The Bell” and “Punky Brewster” will be available in 2020. However, he said a “significant amount” of originals will get pushed into 2021.

RELATED: What canceling the Olympics means for NBCU's Peacock

On the bright side, it could make for a big 2021 for Peacock. The service will kick off Olympics coverage in back-to-back years, will see many of its original series arrive and will host high-profile live events like an NFL playoff game.

“What’s postponed in 2020, will come back to us even bigger in 2021,” Strauss said.

At launch, Peacock Premium will feature more than 15,000 hours of TV series including “30 Rock” and “Two and a Half Men” along with movies including “Jurassic Park,” “Shrek” and “E.T.” The service will also feature earlier editions of late night programs including “The Tonight Show: At Home Edition” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and new episodes of “Curious George” and “Where’s Waldo?”

Peacock will also include a trending video section and a lineup of curated channels with content from “SNL” and NBC News Now. Strauss said the service will have more than 75 channels by the end of the year.

Later this year and in 2021, Peacock will get more originals including “Rutherford Falls” and “The Capture” along with licensed series including “The Office,” “Downton Abbey” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

Peacock Premium will be included free for X1 and Flex customers and it will cost $4.99 per month (or $9.99/month without ads) for everyone else when it launches on July 15. There will also be a free, ad-supported tier of Peacock featuring about half the content.

The service is also being bundled for Cox subscribers when it arrives in July and Strauss said that Comcast hopes to have more MVPD bundling deals to announce in the coming months.

Peacock’s launch sponsors include Apartments.com, Capital One, L’Oreal USA, Molson Coors, State Farm, Subaru, Target, Unilever and Verizon. The company said it will include approximately five minutes of commercials or fewer per hour and will feature new ad formats and innovations.

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