Peacock Raising Prices For First Time Since 2020 Launch
Peacock is phasing in the first price hike in its three-year history, which will increase the rate for the streaming service’s Premium tier by $1 a month and that of Premium Plus by $2 a month.
After the increase, the new prices will be $5.99 for Premium and $11.99 for Premium Plus. The latter tier is virtually ad free and also includes access to live, local NBC channels and the ability to download programming. The update will take effect on August 17 for existing subscribers and immediately for new ones.
NBCUniversal parent Comcast will report new figures later this month as part of quarterly earnings, but as of March 31, Peacock had 22 million subscribers. The service has grown more rapidly than most since a strategic shift in 2021 from its free, ad-supported origins toward a focus on paid subscribers. Still, it remains a laggard compared with traditional company-backed rivals Disney+, Max and Paramount+, not to mention pure streamers Netflix and Prime Video. Red ink continues to spill (as for most in the streaming arena), with losses projected by the company to peak at $3 billion this year. Upon launch, execs predicted the service would reach break-even by 2024; last year, they conceded that the move to profitability could take a bit longer than that.
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The financials of Peacock are well-known to NBCU’s new overseer, Mike Cavanagh, the Comcast president who was previously chief financial officer. He took responsibility for NBCU three months ago when former CEO Jeff Shell exited the company amid disclosures of an inappropriate relationship with a colleague.
Peacock is certainly not alone in raising streaming prices, with some rivals implementing multiple step-ups in the time it has taken for NBCU to pull that lever for the first time.
Programming on Peacock, both live and on-demand, has continued to expand as NBCU has navigated both a competitive direct-to-consumer field and ongoing viewer migration to streaming and away from linear pay-TV. Original programming took time to gain traction but recent additions to the roster like Poker Face, Mrs. Davis and Bupkis have resonated. Along with onboarding full networks and experiences from WWE, Hallmark and Reelz, the platform has also taken the pay-1 film release window that used to belong to third-party premium cable networks and laid claim to NBCU titles that used to go to Hulu in next-day windows (notably Bravo and NBC fare).
Comcast is negotiating with Disney for an exit to its longtime interest in Hulu. The company still has a one-third stake in the service stemming from NBC’s initial role as a founding partner in it.
Live sports are also part of the lure for Peacock, with Premier League soccer and events like the Olympics and the Women’s World Cup having extensive offerings. NBCU also snared exclusive rights to an NFL playoff game next January.
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