Comcast may end free Peacock promotion for Xfinity customers

(Logo: NBCUniversal/Comcast, Graphic: The Desk)

A Comcast executive says a promotion that allows some Xfinity video and Internet customers to receive free access Peacock’s premium tier helped the budding streaming service gain a significant amount of traction early on.

But those days could soon be coming to an end.

At a telecom conference this week, NBC Universal’s top executive Jeffrey Shell said Peacock had 13 million paying subscribers. The figure doesn’t count customers who receive Peacock’s premium tier for free through an eligible Comcast Xfinity plan. (Comcast owns NBC Universal, which operates Peacock.)

At some point, we’ll roll that to pay, but right now, it’s a benefit to our Comcast ecosystem,” Shell said. “The 13 million doesn’t represent a fair kind of representation [of our paid growth] when we have millions of people in Comcast homes getting it for free using the content, which we like, by the way.”

The comments didn’t indicate when Comcast and Peacock would end their deal to offer Xfinity customers free access to Peacock Premium, nor did Shell suggest the company would never offer some kind of promotional access down the road.

Shell said his focus was to continue scaling up adoption of Peacock, which means the promotion is expected to continue for a while longer.

Earlier this year, Comcast said Peacock had 28 million monthly active users, which include 13 million non-promotional users who pay at least $5 a month to access the ad-supported version of Peacock Premium.

Comcast’s customers are able to receive Peacock Premium for free when they subscribe to Xfinity television service with at least one X1-powered set-top box, or when they sign up for an Internet-only plan through Xfinity and agree to receive and activate an X1-powered Flex streaming TV box.

An ad-free version of Peacock Premium costs $10 a month, though Comcast customers with an eligible Xfinity plan can receive it for $5 a month.