The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

NBC’s new streaming service Peacock will likely have advertisements

NBC’s forthcoming streaming service Peacock will have a lot of hit shows intermingled with what the network hopes will be new favorites for TV viewers.

It may also carry something few other streaming services do: Advertisements.

According to a report from CNBC last week, NBCUniversal, the subsidiary of cable giant Comcast that operates NBC and soon Peacock, may offset a monthly fee in exchange for running advertisements against shows and other programming carried on the streaming service when it launches early next year.

Peacock is NBC’s most-ambitious foray into an increasingly-crowded market of direct-to-consumer, on-demand streaming TV services. NBC says it will offer 15,000 hours of content from hit TV series including “Cheers” and “The Office” as well as new shows exclusive to the platform and licensed shows  from third parties, including HBO Entertainment’s “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

In a January interview with CNBC, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke initially floated the idea of charging customers a monthly fee to access Peacock, but reducing the fee if customers allowed NBC to run between three and five advertisements per hour of video watched. Under the original plan, customers who subscribe to cable TV or some internet packages offered by Comcast would get the advertisement-free version fo Peacock included at no extra charge.

That model is nearly identical to that of Comcast’s rival CBS, which operates the “CBS All Access” streaming service at a cost of $6 a month with advertisements or $10 a month without. Like Peacock, CBS All Access includes a mixture of current and past CBS shows along with a library of first-run shows exclusive to the streaming service.

But NBC’s model has shifted slightly in recent months, with the TV network leaning heavier on offering two plans for Peacock: A free tier with advertisements and a premium tier without.

That model is similar to one Hulu used early in its existence where web viewers could access some shows as long as they agreed to sit through ads, or pay the service more money to remove the ads and access a larger library of episodes. Comcast was a partial owner of Hulu until its minority stake was acquired by Disney earlier this year.

CNBC, the news organization that published the story on Peacock’s evolving business model, is owned by NBCUniversal.

Photo of author

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).