Cox Internet Customers Lose Free Access to Peacock Premium; Will Comcast Users Be Next?
Cox customers enjoying unpaid access to Peacock Premium got some sad news this week. Peacock had been offering an extended free viewing period for Cox internet and cable customers, but that period came to an end on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Cox users must now sign up for a paid Peacock Premium account at $4.99 per month, Peacock Premium Plus for $9.99 monthly, or simply stick with Peacock’s free tier if they want access to some Peacock content.
The free version of the NBCUniversal service does allow customers to watch a myriad of archival series, but by and large, Peacock originals and recently aired shows from across the NBC networks are behind the paywall. In many cases, viewers can sample series — often the first episode — but after that, they must move to a paid-tier in order to continue watching.
The end of the extended free viewing window for Cox customers could help swell Peacock’s paid subscriber base even further. Peacock saw its paid user count double in 2022, from 9 million to 18 million customers. Considering Cox is the third-largest cable provider in the U.S., with around 6.5 million customers, so it’s reasonable to assume Peacock will snag a decent number of new, paid accounts from the move.
The discontinuation of free Peacock Premium access at Cox is also a sign of things to come for Comcast users. In June, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said that parent company Comcast was planning to make its internet and pay-TV customers start paying for access to Peacock Premium at some point.
“It’s also important to remember that 13 million paying subs [at that time] comes from only a portion of the country because in Comcast territory, Comcast homes who get Xfinity, get Peacock Premium for free,” he said. “At some point, we’ll roll that to pay.”
Shell reiterated those plans in December, stating that the changeover would happen in “the next year or two.” Currently, Xfinity X1 internet and Flex cable subscribers receive free access to Peacock Premium — as well as discounted access to Premium Plus — and have been since the service launched in 2020.
Users who were accustomed to getting free Peacock Premium will likely grumble about these moves, and it’s hard to blame them. But Peacock reportedly accounted for a $2.4 billion loss for NBCU in 2022, even with the huge influx of new paying customers. The service has to pull in more paying customers if it wants to keep its status as one of the lowest-priced — and fastest-growing — streaming options on the market today.
Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that includes original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series. Peacock is home to “Yellowstone,” and “The Office,” as well as original hits like “Bel-Air.” You can also watch live sports including Sunday Night Football, Premier League, and exclusive MLB games. Peacock is also the exclusive home to many WWE events like WrestleMania. Starting Nov. 30, Premium Plus subscribers will be able to stream their local NBC feed in all 210 markets.
The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like “Parks and Recreation,” and the entire Dick Wolf library including “Law & Order” and “Chicago Fire.”
The service also features blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.