What to Expect as NBC Shows Shift From Hulu to Peacock; New Customers Save 60% in September
Earlier this year, Comcast announced that it would end its deal with Disney to have NBCUniversal shows come to the companies’ jointly owned streaming service, Hulu, the day after they air on broadcast and cable. That means that programs from NBC, USA Network, and other NBCU outlets would land on corporate sibling streamer Peacock instead. On Wednesday, the company confirmed that the move would take place on Sept. 19 for all NBCU outlets other than Bravo, which moved episodes from Hulu to Peacock earlier this year.
As the fall season approaches and new seasons of shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “Law and Order: SVU” prepare to return to the air, what do these changes mean for customers who just want to watch their favorite shows?
In an interview with Deadline, Peacock president Kelly Campbell said that other than the platform, very little will change for consumers. Peacock will make most popular titles including “The Voice,” “The Blacklist,” and “Chicago Fire” available to stream the morning following their linear release.
Based on the early results of moving Bravo shows to Peacock, the company expects that this shift will be beneficial for the stream.
“We’ve grown the number of Bravo viewers on Peacock by about 20%,” said Campbell. “Obviously, there’s more to come, but it’s been largely successful for Peacock and for Bravo overall in growing the audience.”
It’s clear that NBCU sees more success in the future as it transitions its shows to its own streaming platform. Not all NBC shows will move to Peacock this fall, however. Because Comcast has a financial stake in Hulu until 2024, Hulu will retain some NBC shows that have finished their runs, including “This Is Us,” “The Mindy Project,” “Parenthood,” and others.
The overall intention of NBCU is to grow its streaming platform by making it the exclusive home of all its IP, as well as with more original content. The company is committed to doubling its expenditures on content for Peacock from $1.5 billion in 2021 to $3 billion in 2022, and that number is expected to rise to $5 billion in the coming years.
“We’re constantly thinking about what’s going to hook hook [sic] someone to come in but [also] what’s going to continue to keep them engaged,” Campbell said. “That’s where our data and then our marketing capabilities become so important.”
One major marketing push that the streamer kicked off on Wednesday is centered around a new deal designed to make it as cheap as possible for fans to keep up with their favorite NBCU series. To entice customers to follow their favorite shows from Hulu to Peacock, running throughout the month of September, the streamer is offering a deal to new Peacock Premium subscribers that will give them access to the service for $1.99 per month or $19.99 for a whole year of ad-free streaming on the service; that amounts to a savings of over 60% compared to the current price of $4.99 per month.
To further attract viewers, NBCU will also continue to take a different approach to hit films than companies like Warner Bros. Discovery. WBD has recently been rethinking its theatrical windowing and instead of moving major motion pictures from cinemas to streaming in 45 days, the company has decided to give movies extended life via digital rental and purchasing hubs before putting them on HBO Max.
While Peacock is not beholden to any particular scheduling strategy, they are clearly move comfortable about bringing titles to streaming more quickly than other studios.
“You’re going to continue to see us be strategic and thoughtful about windowing,” Campbell said. “It’s not like a set formula, with this many days exactly for every film. I think we sit down and we look strategically at what’s coming to theaters when, what Peacock’s schedule looks like, what else are consumers going to have access to in a certain timeframe.”
Indeed, that strategy is already playing out. Jordan Peele’s newest horror film “Nope” would be eligible for a Peacock release starting on Sept. 5 according to the 45-day theatrical schedule, but as no announcement has been made so far regarding its release, that date seems to be in doubt. On the other hand, “Halloween Ends” will be getting a day-and-date release on Peacock and in theaters on Oct. 14.
If this windowing strategy and migration away from Hulu are successful, it could pay big dividends for NBCU. The company forecasted in 2020 that it would grow its subscriber base to between 30 and 35 million subscribers by 2025. Considering it gained 4 million customers in the first quarter of 2021 (though that number flattened in Q2) and that its number of active accounts is already around 27 million, those estimates may need to be revised upward sooner rather than later.
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.