CONCLUDE

Cable surveillance may still be more popular than streaming, but if Disney + and others join the fight, will streaming remain the cheaper option?

USA TODAY

At a time when viewers are weighing the cost of adding another streaming service, Peacock from NBCUniversal parent Comcast arrives on Wednesday with a price that is hard to beat: $ 0.00.

The new free service and a “Premium” level ($ 4.99 per month) that starts with almost 20,000 hours of programming include commercials. However, you can avoid this by paying an additional $ 5.

Starting in a market that’s already crowded with paid subscription-based services, including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and newer products like Disney +, Apple TV +, and HBO Max, leaves Peacock chairman Matt Strauss, who changes the pricing structure by Peacock as an asset, don’t worry.

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“I think there’s this growing feeling of subscription fatigue where you have all of these options, but you pay for everyone and they add up quickly,” he says. “We are trying to approach streaming in a different way, the combination of high quality programming that is available at a very affordable price. There is nothing more affordable than free.”

The NBC connection brings sports and news, two genres that are not available on many streaming services. NBC News Monday announced “TODAY All Day”, a new portal that is also available on TODAY.com. Current and past seasons of Telemundo shows are also included on Peacock.

The streaming service has not announced whether “The Office”, which Peacock will receive exclusively in January when its Netflix deal ends, will be totally or partially free or paid. Another NBC fan favorite, “Parks and Recreation,” will be on the free tier in October when Peacock gets exclusive streaming rights.

Peacock will also be the exclusive home for 1,000 episodes of Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order” and “Chicago” franchise.

Peacock’s rollout should begin with NBC’s coverage of the now postponed 2020 Summer Olympics, which the COVID-19 pandemic postponed to next year.

However, a pandemic-driven increase in streaming could partially offset the loss of this marketing opportunity, said Lisa Herdman, senior vice president at RPA. She doesn’t think Peacock’s later arrival at the streaming club will be a problem.

“Most streaming channels of any kind currently have a chance. The (streaming) viewership has increased,” she says. Peacock “has a few things that are beneficial. It’s free and there is an arsenal of (older) programs” at a time when many are nostalgic.

Peacock is not immune to the effects of the production shutdown, which has affected television and film production as a whole. Remakes of “Battlestar Galactica”, “Saved By the Bell” and “Punky Brewster” as well as the podcast-based “Dr. Death” with Jamie Dornan and Alec Baldwin will not be available at the start.

Where can viewers get Peacock from?

Since April, 15 million subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity and Flex cable and streaming services have received premium access at no extra charge. Cox subscribers will get the same offer starting Wednesday.

Strauss says early on that family visits were a big draw. “What we discovered fairly early was that a lot of people who were looking for shelter were really looking for comfort food television,” he says.

Like HBO Max, Peacock isn’t yet available on the two largest streaming platforms, Roku and Amazon Fire, but viewers can watch on Apple devices, Microsoft Xbox devices, Google platforms and devices, and on smart TVs from Vizio Smartcast and LG access it. Other options are the Peacock app or peacocktv.com.

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So what do you get for free?

The free level covers more than half of the programming hours of the service. With some on Hulu, current NBC shows will be available – just a day after broadcast to premium subscribers; a week later for free – and viewers can see “30 Rock”, “Downton Abbey” and “Friday Night Lights”. The film library contains classic favorites such as “Jurassic Park” and “ET”.

“Saturday Night Live”, “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers” will be available. Clip-based channels show the best of Fallon, Meyers and the “SNL” vault.

Peacock relies heavily on the television and film libraries of NBCUniversal Real Estate, including NBC, USA, Syfy, E! and Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation. It also extends to non-exclusive programs from other studios, including “Everybody Loves Raymond”, “Frasier”, “Cheers” and “The Carol Burnett Show”.

“We didn’t call ourselves NBC Plus. We called ourselves Peacock. This is partly because we always kept an eye on this larger version of how we wanted to aggregate content, much broader than just NBCUniversal,” says Strauss.

What additional programming do premium subscribers get?

For $ 4.99, premium subscribers also get popular shows like “Two and a Half Men”, “House” and “Yellowstone”. along with “Shrek” and “The Bourne Identity”.

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Eventually, Peacock plans to offer premium viewers the opportunity to see Fallon and Meyers hours before their network slots, which has been delayed due to the pandemic’s impact on production.

At the start, most of the original series will be available exclusively at the premium level, although selected originals such as “Psych 2: Lassie Come Home” are free.

New shows include:

• “Intelligence”, a comedy with the series creator Nick Mohammed and “Friends” -Alum David Schwimmer as a mismatched pair of investigators, whose unlikely partnership could threaten the fight against cyberterrorism.

• “Brave New World”, an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic novel, which envisions a utopian society in which peace is guaranteed by prohibiting privacy, money and history. Demi Moore, Harry Lloyd, Jessica Brown Findlay and Alden Ehrenreich play the leading roles.

• “The Capture”, a conspiracy thriller that takes into account the current issues of fake news and all-seeing intelligence agencies. The cast includes Ron Perlman and Famke Janssen.

What’s in news and sports?

Peacock offers daily highlights from NBC News and Telemundo News as well as the NBC News NOW and Sky News channels.

On the sports side, premium subscribers can see more than 175 Premier League football games in the 2020-21 season. “In Deep with Ryan Lochte”, when the gold medal swimmer, at 35, is striving to return to the Olympics; and “Lost Speedways”, a look at forgotten racetracks by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

How about children’s television?

Peacock offers new, exclusive episodes of “Curious George”, entertaining and educational programs based on the classic children’s book character, and two DreamWorks animation series: “Where’s Waldo?” and “Cleopatra in space”.

The library includes “Woody Woodpecker”, “Top Chef Jr.”, “Sabrina: The Animated Series”, “Fievel’s American Tails”, “Care Bears”, “New Adventures of He-Man”, “Big Fun Crafty” and ” Baby Einstein Classics. “

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