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Peacock Hard Hit by Olympic Cancellation, Streamer Still Set for Soft April Launch

Fern Siegel

All of TV industry has been hard hit by the pandemic, but one upcoming streamer, NBCU’s Peacock, has added woes. It lost a vital promotional platform, the Olympics, reports Vulture.

The original plan was for Peacock to have a targeted launch April 15 — in just Comcast’s Xfinity cities. A major July 15 national launch would follow. The July date was specific: NBCU would carry the Olympics on July 24, which would include ample promo messages about Peacock, introducing the streamer to millions of viewers. (Comcast is the parent company of NBCU.)

Sources told Vulture the April 15 date is still a go — and the streamer’s future plans are evolving. Which means no word yet on how the Olympic cancellation will affect the date of the larger rollout. Covid-19 has halted production for film and TV productions worldwide, resulting in a significant loss of upcoming content.

However, for streaming in general, there is a spike in viewership. WarnerMedia Entertainment noted overall TV usage, cross-platform, was up 20 percent last week versus the previous month.

One plus for Peacock is its model: ad-supported and paid subscriptions. Many analysts believe the ad-supported version will be the most popular, since anyone can stream Peacock for free.

Peacock is expected to launch with 15,000-plus hours of programming, including NBC powerhouses “The Office,” which arrives in 2021, and “Parks and Recreation.” Plus, Mike Schur, the creator of “The Good Place,” and Lorne Michaels of “Saturday Night Live” fame will contribute new shows. So will Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy”).

Peacock will air between three and five minutes of ads per every hour of programming.