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

Comcast recruits social media users to demand Peacock for Roku

Using the #FreetheBird hashtag, the cable giant encourages customers to take their complaints to Roku.

Using the #FreetheBird hashtag, the cable giant encourages customers to take their complaints to Roku.

Comcast is asking social media users to contact Roku over the availability of its forthcoming streaming service Peacock, according to multiple posts on Twitter.

With two days to go until the national rollout of Peacock, the cable giant still has not reached a deal with Roku and Amazon to make the service available to users of those platforms.

That lack of a deal means Peacock won’t be available on at least 70 percent of TV sets with a streaming device.

Responding to inquiries from social media users, Comcast‘s official account for Peacock began telling viewers to “squawk about it to Roku if you want,” appending the hashtag #FreetheBird to the end of its message. The posts were first spotted by Jason Gurwin of the industry blog the Streamable on Monday.

Last month, The Desk reported negotiations between Comcast and Roku over Peacock were hanging on issues of data and advertisement inventory, with Roku demanding access to viewership data and the ability to insert a copious amount of commercial advertisements on two of Peacock’s three subscription plans.

A source familiar with the negotiations said Comcast was ready to give Roku a limited amount of viewership data but was hesitant to allow Roku to insert its own advertisements while users were watching movies and TV shows on Peacock.

Last week, a CNBC report confirmed Comcast and Roku were still debating both issues. An executive told the news outlet he doubted an agreement would be reached with Roku and rival platform Amazon in time for Peacock’s July 15 launch.

Peacock will offer viewers thousands of hours of programming, including a curated selection of NBC shows and licensed movies, for free with advertisement support. A premium, ad-supported subscription will make full seasons and more movies from NBC and other studios available to viewers for $5 a month, though some customers will get access to that tier for free if they are Comcast or Cox cable or Internet subscribers.

An ultra-premium tier removes commercials at a $10 a month price, or $5 a month if customers receive the premium version for free. Comcast executive Matt Strauss said he believes most customers will skip the commercial-free subscription.

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).