The move, which could be announced as soon as tomorrow, will end a months-long stalemate between Comcast and Amazon over native distribution of the streaming service on Fire TV sticks, television sets and other hardware.
Comcast began offering Peacock to its video and Internet subscribers with X1 and Flex-powered set-top boxes early last year, with a more-formal rollout seeing the service distributed on streaming hardware running Apple’s iOS and Android TV in July.
At the time of its national debut, Peacock was not distributed on Roku or Amazon Fire TV, the two biggest streaming television platforms in the United States. Prior to its launch, The Desk exclusively reported that discussions over certain financial and distribution terms between Comcast and the two technology companies meant that the service was unlikely to debut on Roku and Amazon Fire TV as it was being made available to those who used other streaming platforms.
In September, Comcast reached a distribution deal with Roku that saw the service land on the streaming hardware maker’s line of budget set-top boxes and streaming sticks. That move, coupled with Comcast’s decision to invest heavily in programming for Peacock (including sports), helped the streaming service grab more than 40 million customer sign-ups.
Since its debut, Amazon has been the lone holdout, with the tech company refusing to distribute Peacock through its Amazon-branded software store. The stalemate eventually prompted Comcast to encourage Amazon customers to side-load a version of Peacock’s Android TV app onto their hardware as a work-around until a deal could be reached.
Discussions between Comcast and Amazon have been ongoing since the service became available last summer, according to two people familiar with those negotiations. Those discussions largely centered around the amount of commercial advertisement inventory Amazon would be allowed to access on Peacock’s two cheapest tiers, those sources said.
Executives at Amazon also wanted Peacock subscriptions to be offered through the tech company’s online marketplace, Amazon Prime Video Channels, the sources said. Amazon earns a commission from every subscription sold through Prime Video Channels, while streamers are able to watch third party content from within Amazon’s own Prime Video app.
Officials at Comcast were concerned with certain elements of Amazon’s terms, including how the service’s advertisement distribution system would be impacted by Amazon’s insertion of its own commercial inventory. They were also concerned about the amount of user data Amazon may be able to collect from Peacock subscribers should its content be offered through Prime Video, the sources said.
The distribution deal reached this week largely resolves those concerns: Amazon will allow customers to download Peacock through its distribution store, and Comcast will allow Amazon users the ability to sign up for a subscription to its $5 a month premium or $10 a month commercial-free tier using Amazon Pay, the tech company’s native payment processing solution. (Amazon receives a small commission from every purchase made through Amazon Pay.)
Sources who spoke with The Desk on Tuesday were uncertain if Comcast’s agreement with Amazon allows the tech company to sell Peacock subscriptions through Prime Video Channels now or in the near future. A spokesperson for Comcast has not yet returned a request seeking comment.