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Peacock Pivots Toward More Unscripted Content, Global Co-productions

Aubrey Meister

What’s next for NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock? At the Edinburgh TV Festival, Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, spoke about the streamer’s upcoming content plans. There are several new shows in the works, including The Thing About Pam, Irreverent, and Last Light, among others.

With scripted content, NBCUniversal is leaning hard into global co-productions. The company is in a partnership with Netflix in Australia for Irreverent. Last Light is an MGM International TV Production with Nordic Entertainment Group’s streaming service Viaplay.

“We are definitely experimenting with all of it. Obviously, co-productions work great because you can get great content for a reduced price. That is definitely an area (for Peacock). Because we cover most of the budget, we get a lot of rights, but for the most part we’re concentrating on domestic rights. There is more flexibility,” she said.

One of Peacock’s newest additions, Dr. Death has been successful so far, which gives the company more direction for future content. Rovner said, “True crime seems to be resonating because Dr. Death is doing tremendously so that’s an area we’re doubling down in and trying to find more. For scripted, it’s about passion and vision and something that is going to make noise.”

Peacock is also switching gears by releasing a three-part docuseries, Monster in the Shadows. The docuseries will be available to stream on Peacock beginning Thursday, August 26. Until this point, much of Peacock’s content has been scripted. Now, the streaming service appears to be shifting at least some of its content strategy.

Also at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Rovner revealed that America’s Got Talent and X Factor creator, Simon Cowell, has inked a deal with NBCUniversal. In that deal, Cowell also agreed to produce and appear on an unscripted series. At this time, few details about the new series are public.

The Olympics were predicted to be a “meaningful driver” for the streaming service, which was straggling behind competitors. Peacock delivered exclusive coverage of the Games, which no other streaming services could do. Now, Peacock must continue offering new content to keep subscribers interested and to differentiate the streamer from its competition.

During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Peacock naturally saw a peak in app downloads and overall usage. The app had two million downloads from the Apple App Store and one million downloads from the Google Play Store in July 2021.

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.

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