NBC’s entry into the streaming wars will offer a free tier, two paid tiers, and plenty of content.
NBC’s streaming service is called Peacock, in honor of the broadcast network’s iconic logo. And Peacock, details of which NBC revealed in full Thursday at an investors’ meeting in New York City, is a fitting name for NBC’s entrée into the streaming wars, because Peacock is the one platform that actually resembles network television.
The new platform will launch on July 15, 2020, in conjunction with the Tokyo Olympics. It will offer a free, ad-supported tier, as well as two premium options with more content options: one with ads for $4.99, and another with no ads for $9.99.
Users will have the ability to choose between on-demand content and a browsable back catalog of 600 films and more than 10,000 hours of NBC television series. There’s even something called virtual channels, a fascinating idea of livestreamed, curated content that connects Peacock to its roots on broadcast TV.
When Peacock launches this summer, however, it will be the fourth new streaming service to arrive in the past eight months; it will follow Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBO Max (out in May). Plus there’s Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime … the list goes on and on. Will Peacock’s later arrival be to its benefit or detriment?
The key need-to-know details below will help you answer the question for yourself.
The free tier will offer nearly 8,000 hours of ad-supported content
The Peacock app will feature more than 7,500 hours of ad-supported free content, which will be available on mobile, web, and TV-connected web devices. These include next-day broadcasts of current shows (like This is Us) as well as select episodes of the app’s exclusive content (like the new season of AP Bio, formerly on NBC); the entire runs of popular other NBC- and Universal-produced shows; a number of movies; and daily news content from NBC’s various anchors and outlets. (NBCUniversal is an investor in Vox Media, Vox’s parent company.)
Virtual channels bring channel surfing to streaming
Users will also be able to create personalized channels — for example, custom channels with live events, a trending feed, or individual content preferences. These will serve up content to those who don’t want to make specific choices about what to watch. NBC will also have a bunch of what it’s calling virtual channels available for Peacock users to choose from. Some will cycle through Saturday Night Live episodes; others focus on indie movies, true crime dramas, comedies, and, yes, solely Law & Order episodes and the show’s 5 million derivatives.
The Peacock Premium tier will cost between $4.99 and $9.99 a month
Peacock Free will be, uh, free. The Peacock Premium service will offer two payment tiers. The lower tier will cost $4.99 a month for subscribers but will also be bundled free on Xfinity platforms as well as for Cox subscribers. (Xfinity subscribers will also have access to the services months before everyone else, beginning April 15, 2020.)
The next tier will be ad-free and will cost $9.99 a month. Both tiers grant access to the full library of exclusive Peacock series and movies, as well as the entirety of the app’s content library. There will also be both live news and sports content, and then there’s this interesting tidbit: early access to late-night shows. With Peacock Premium, users will be able to watch that night’s new episode of The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon as early as 8 pm ET; Late Night With Seth Meyers will be available at 9 ET.
Peacock will have an extensive TV back catalog, from vintage SNL to Keeping Up With the Kardashians …
The NBC classic TV lineup is probably Peacock’s biggest draw. You might tune in for headliners like The Office and 30 Rock, or maybe Saturday Night Live. But there are also plenty of crowd faves, from Friday Night Lights to Murder, She Wrote and Will and Grace. For procedurals fans, a litany of shows from the Law & Order universe will be available, including every episode of SVU. Peacock will also have other non-NBC broadcast network hits like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Top Chef.
… As well as movies
NBC boasts that its back catalog, including 600 films from Universal, will feature more than 2,000 hours of movies. Among those will be classic Spielberg films like Jaws, Jurassic Park, and E.T. Also on the list are gems like the Fast & Furious series, the Bourne franchise, Billy Elliot, Shrek, and many more.
And, of course, original shows
NBC announced a long roster of new shows and films that are either already confirmed or in development for the Peacock streaming service. They include attention-grabbing cult faves like a new Battlestar Galactica series, an adaptation of the McElroy brothers’ beloved roleplay podcast The Adventure Zone, and surprising adds like a tribute to racing hosted by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The full list of drama and comedy shows is below. Some are due between the July 2020 launch and the beginning of 2021; others are in the early stage of development.
New drama series:
Angelyne: A limited series based on the Hollywood Reporter feature that explored a mysterious Los Angeles billboard
Armas De Mujer: From the team behind Telemundo’s hit La Reina del Sur, a dramedy starring Kate del Castillo about four women whose husbands are arrested for being part of a criminal organization
Battlestar Galactica: Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail delivers a new story within the Battlestar Galactica universe
Brave New World: A new series based on Aldous Huxley’s famous dystopian novel
The Capture: A modern-day spy show set in London that devolves into conspiracy
Dr. Death: A new series based on Wondery’s hit podcast of the same name about the terrifying true story of a Dallas neurosurgeon who left a trail of bodies in his “practice”
One of Us Is Lying (in development): Based on Karen M. McManus’s bestselling novel about what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive
Hatching Twitter (in development): Journalist Nick Bilton explores the founding of Twitter
Queer as Folk (in development): A new series of the classic gay drama
New comedy series:
The Amber Ruffin Show: starring comedian Amber Ruffin
AP Bio: A disgraced Harvard philosophy professor is forced to return to Toledo, Ohio, and work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher
Code 404: Detective Inspectors Major and Carver are the top crime-fighting duo at the Met Police’s Special Investigation Unit until Major gets gunned down on the job. But in an experimental artificial intelligence project, he’s brought back from the dead.
Five Bedrooms: Five unlikely allies buy a house together
Girls5Eva: A one-hit-wonder girl group from the ’90s reunites, in a comedy from Tina Fey
Hitmen: The adventures of two hapless, dead-broke best friends and contract killers
Intelligence: The Office UK meets MI5 and MI6: When an arrogant, maverick NSA agent Jerry comes over from the US to join the team, he enlists an inept and tactless computer analyst Joseph in a power grab
Lady Parts: A musical comedy following a Muslim female punk band, as seen through the eyes of the geeky PhD student who is recruited to be their unlikely lead guitarist
Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (film): Santa Barbara Police Chief Carlton Lassiter is ambushed on the job and left for dead. In a vintage Psycho-style Hitchcockian nod, he begins to see impossible happenings around his recovery clinic. Shawn and Gus investigate.
Punky Brewster: Punky is now a single mother of three trying to get her life back on track when she meets a foster kid who reminds her of her younger self.
Rutherford Falls: A small town in upstate New York is turned upside down when the local legend and town namesake, Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms), fights the moving of a historical statue
Saved by the Bell: Bayside High gets an influx of new low-income students who give the overprivileged Bayside kids a dose of reality
The Kids Tonight Show: The only late-night talk show for kids, by kids, from Jimmy Fallon
Who Wrote That: A docuseries that gives a behind-the-scenes look at Saturday Night Live’s most important writers
MacGruber (in development): An action comedy based on the SNL sketch starring Will Forte’s MacGyver knockoff
Straight Talk (in development): A show about an ideological odd couple
The Adventure Zone (in development): An animated series based on the McElroy family’s Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying podcast
Clean Slate (in development): A man reunites with his son, who comes out to him as transgender
Expecting (in development): A single woman asks her gay best friend to be her sperm donor. From Mindy Kaling.
Division One (in development): A coming-of-age comedy about an underdog women’s collegiate soccer team