Tech

NBCU's Peacock will have no more than five minutes of ads per hour, even on the free version

Key Points
  • NBCUniversal unveiled details for advertisers of its Peacock streaming service on Thursday.
  • The company said viewers won't watch more than five minutes of ads per hour, whether they're watching through the free service or watching the "Premium" tier.
  • Peacock also promises viewers won't see the same ad more than once every 30 minutes.
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NBCUniversal announces details of new streaming service Peacock

Comcast-owned NBCUniversal unveiled details of its new streaming service Peacock on Thursday afternoon, and it promises to be light on ads.

Viewers will see fewer than five minutes of ads per hour on both the free version of Peacock and Peacock Premium, the latter of which is included with Comcast and Cox subscriptions but otherwise costs $4.99 per month. A Third ad-free tier will cost $9.99 per month.

Hulu, which is majority-owned by Disney, told CNBC that it shows roughly nine minutes or less of commercials per hour on its $5.99 ad-supported subscription. Tubi, which is free, told CNBC it shows about four minutes of ads per hour. Traditional TV networks show an average of 11 minutes of commercials per hour, according to a December 2018 report by Pivotal Research.

NBCUniversal says viewers won't be inundated with the same ads over and over again, which is one annoyance consumers have noticed in the transition from traditional TV to streaming. The same ad won't appear more than once every 30 minutes, the company said.

Peacock ad mockup

Peacock will introduce new ad formats for advertisers

Peacock ad mockup.

Peacock will offer a slew of different options for advertisers, and some might sound familiar to Hulu subscribers. Here's a breakdown of some of them:

  • Pause ads, which would take over the whole screen of your device when a viewer pauses a show with messaging around "taking a break."
  • Binge ads will trigger when a consumer watches three episodes of a show, and a sponsor will bring a fourth episode ad-free.
  • ShoppableTV ads let viewers buy products that are related to the shows they're watching. Viewers watching the French Open tennis tournament in May, for instance, were able to buy Lacoste's Novak Djokovic clothing collection while watching him play.
  • Prime Pods are single, 60-second ad spots.
  • Engagement ads will attempt to get consumers to interact with advertisements using trivia questions or product galleries.
  • Trending ads will show advertisements that are based on certain topics.
  • Solo ads will limit advertising to a single ad within an episode of a show.
  • Curator ads will curate collections of NBCUniversal titles based on moods, genres, events or other themes, with the opportunity for brands to sponsor those collections.
  • Explore ads will show a collection of content related to what a viewer was watching while they're paused, offering an option for a viewer to get a discount sent to their phone if they're interested in the product being shown.
  • On-Command ads will connect with Comcast's Xfinity voice technology into Peacock, so viewers can speak into the remote following on-screen prompts to interact with a brand and get offers.

A big marketing push at launch

NBCU's launch partners for Peacock -- the firms with a co-promotional relationship with the streaming platform -- include State Farm, Target and Unilever. NBCU said it plans to spend "hundreds of millions of dollars" marketing Peacock in ways that will also feature those brands.

NBCU said one way it will promote Peacock is through a so-called Symphony, a cross-platform marketing effort which the company has called its "secret sauce" for launching TV shows, movies and other pushes. That effort will run during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Peacock will launch in April 2020.

Disclosure: Peacock is the streaming service of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through the year 2032.

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