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Peacock ends free subscription tier for new customers

A movie is promoted on the Comcast streaming service Peacock.
A movie is promoted on the Comcast streaming service Peacock. (Graphic by The Desk)

Comcast’s streaming service Peacock has eliminated its free tier of service for new customers as it pushes new subscribers toward its premium offerings.

The move happened this week when Comcast quietly removed the option for new customers to sign up for the free tier of Peacock, which offered a limited, curated selection of movies and TV shows that included commercial breaks.

The free tier was always intended to offer customers a sample with the hope that they would ultimately decide to subscribe to Peacock Premium, which costs $5 a month and unlocks full seasons of hit TV shows and the complete catalog of movies offered on the service. Some Comcast Xfinity customers receive Peacock Premium for free.

Current Peacock account holders who are on the free tier won’t be impacted for now, but if they switch to Peacock Premium, they won’t be able to switch back. Likewise, customers who are currently paying for Peacock Premium or who opt for the $10 a month, commercial-free version of Peacock called Premium Plus won’t be able to switch to the free tier if they decide not to renew their paid subscription.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Comcast’s NBC Universal said the decision to eliminate the free tier was part of a “shift in focus” as the company builds its library of content to include more than 100,000 hours of television and films.

The paid tiers of Peacock offer content from various Comcast media brands, including NBC, MSNBC, NBC News, Universal Pictures, Bravo, E! and USA Network. The premium tier also offers a handful of shows licensed from Paramount Global’s Showtime brand, as well as back episodes of the hit Paramount Network drama “Yellowstone.” Access to some live sports programming, including Sunday Night Football, is also available with a paid subscription.

Subscribers who opt for Peacock Premium Plus get live access to their local NBC station or affiliate, no matter where they live in the United States.

Peacock is available across all major streaming devices — including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV (Google TV) — and on smartphones and tablets.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).