NBCUniversal 'evaluating' moving up nationwide Peacock launch from July 15, says Peacock chief

Key Points
  • NBCUniversal is considering moving up the launch date for its subscription video service Peacock from July 15.
  • Comcast Xfinity subscribers will get access to Peacock's library of TV shows and movies on Wednesday, April 15.
  • Comcast subscribers will get access to Peacock programming on their Xfinity cable boxes or Flex broadband boxes. The Peacock mobile application will be available when Peacock launches nationwide.
Al Roker, NBCUniversal kicks off it's new Peacock streaming service on TODAY at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Nathan Congleton | NBCU

Comcast's NBCUniversal is "evaluating" moving up the nationwide launch of its subscription video service Peacock, according to Matt Strauss, Peacock's chairman. 

NBCUniversal planned to release Peacock's free and paid versions nationwide on July 15. While that day is still the target "for the moment," Strauss said his team was considering moving the launch date up to get Peacock's programming in front of millions of Americans trapped at home under coronavirus quarantines.

"We feel even more strongly we need to bring Peacock as quickly to market as possible," Strauss said on a conference call for reporters. 

As planned, Comcast's Xfinity subscribers will get a preview of Peacock beginning Wednesday, April 15, when the streaming service's programming will be available at no extra charge for all pay TV and broadband customers.

Comcast customers will get access to Peacock's full library of shows through their cable boxes or Flex streaming boxes including old NBC hits "Parks and Recreation," "30 Rock" and "Law & Order: SVU," the entire "Saturday Night Live" catalog, and Universal Pictures films such as "Jurassic Park," "E.T." and "Schindler's List."

The Peacock mobile application and smart TV application won't be ready until the nationwide launch date, whether that's July 15 or sooner, Strauss said. Peacock originals, such as "Brave New World," based on the novel by Aldous Huxley, and a reboot of "Saved By The Bell," with original cast members including Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez, will be available later in 2020 or in 2021, Strauss said. 

"There will be originals that we make available in 2020," said Strauss, alluding to projects that have already been shot and produced. Hollywood operations are shut down during quarantines. 

Peacock will have a free version and a paid version, the latter of which will also have an ad-free tier. Peacock Free will consist of 7,500 hours of programming, including next-day access to current seasons of first-year NBC shows, complete seasons of classic series, Universal movies and curated content such as "SNL Vault" and "Family Movie Night."

Peacock Premium will be $4.99 per month with ads and $7.99 per month without ads for non-Comcast and Cox subscribers, who get Peacock Premium with ads for free.

 Peacock Premium will include more than 15,000 hours of current and classic TV shows and exclusive early access to Jimmy Fallon's "The Tonight Show" and "Late Night with Seth Meyers." NBC said in January that "The Tonight Show" would be available for Peacock Premium users at 8 p.m. ET each day instead of its normal TV air time of 11:35 p.m. ET. "Late Night with Seth Meyers" will be available at 9 p.m. ET instead of 12:35 a.m. ET.

Peacock's marketing rollout will look different from what was originally intended.

NBCUniversal had planned to run a huge marketing push for Peacock alongside the 2020 Olympics, which has been postponed until 2021. Strauss said the company had developed a revised marketing plan that recoups the "vast majority" of promotional impressions it had planned for the summer. He said the company would see little to no impact on its marketing targets for 2020 as a result.

An NBC Universal spokeswoman said the company would have more specifics to share on its marketing plans closer to the national launch.

— CNBC's Megan Graham contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Peacock is the streaming service of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC. Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal.

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