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Roku and NBCUniversal Are Partnering For Unique Streaming Hub For The 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Derek Walborn

Roku is getting in on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics action thanks to a partnership with NBCUniversal that will make Olympic coverage easily accessible right from the Roku home screen for viewers in the U.S.

Starting July 20, Roku users on supported devices will find a menu on the left side of the home screen that is dedicated to NBCU’s 5,500 hours of streaming Summer Games coverage. Ahead of the games, a countdown clock will tick down to the Opening Ceremony. Once the games officially begin, the clock will become a medal tracker.

Roku users will be able to stream highlights and easily access live shows for free via Peacock, and tune in to live events through the NBC Sports app. The access will continue through August 8.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with NBCUniversal to develop a unique, dedicated destination for streamers to experience all of the excitement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo,” said Tedd Cittadine, Vice President of Content Partnerships, Roku. “Streaming has fundamentally changed the way we come together for news, sports, and entertainment today and nothing combines these moments together better and on a bigger scale than the Olympics.”

Execs at NBC are equally smitten over the arrangement, with Maggie McLean Suniewick, President, Business Development and Partnerships, Direct-to-Consumer, NBCUniversal saying “this experience on Roku makes NBC Olympics content unmissable for streamers.”

“The Tokyo Olympics will be one of the biggest media events of our lifetime and we look forward to working with Roku to create a new, on-device experience for their millions of streamers,” said Matt Bond, Chairman, Content Distribution, NBCUniversal. “We know that more engaging, personalized experiences are what consumers expect for this global event and we look forward to using this opportunity to innovate with terrific partners like Roku.”

Peacock

Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that gives access to up to 15,000 hours of content including original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series.

It will include news, entertainment, sports, late-night, and reality from various NBCU properties including NBC, Bravo, and E!.

Just like other streaming services, Peacock will have their own original series including reboots of Save By The Bell, Punky Brewster, and Battlestar Galactica. They also have shows like Rutherford Falls (Ed Helms), Dr. Death (Alec Baldwin), and a behind-the-scenes docs-series about Saturday Night Live.

The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like the entire Dick Wolf library including Law & Order and Chicago Fire, Parks and Recreation, and The Office.

The service will also feature blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.

The news comes during the lead-up to an Olympic Games whose fate was questionable up until very recently due to Tokyo’s struggle with a wave of COVID-19 infections amidst low vaccination rates and public disapproval of the city’s hosting of the event.

The now seemingly unstoppable march towards the Games is good news for Peacock.

NBC’s streaming platform was intended to have its launch strategically coincide with the events. With the pandemic postponing them, Peacock’s launch was anemic to say the least. The platform’s reliance on a touch-and-go situation has been resulting in a lot of anxiety for the company.

The past is water under the bridge, if NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell's enthusiasm is to be believed. Thanks to a tremendous amount of content, a forward-thinking relationship with Twitch, and American superstars like gymnast Simone Biles occupying the screen, Shell says that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics “could be our most profitable Olympics in our company’s history. You know you have 17 days where you dominate every night.”

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