Comcast’s Peacock streaming service to offer free and $5- or $10-a-month options

Comcast Corp-owned NBCUniversal’s new Peacock service, its belated entry into the streaming video wars, will offer free and $5-per-month options with advertising, the company announced on Thursday.

Customers who want to avoid all advertising can pay $10 per month, NBCUniversal said in a statement released as it opened a presentation to investors at its 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters in New York.

The cost for the ad-free service will drop to $5 per month for customers of Comcast or Cox Communications, the statement said.

Peacock – Comcast’s effort to capture viewers abandoning cable TV, and named after NBC’s longtime logo – will debut for Comcast customers on April 15 with programming including full series of NBC shows such as “Cheers,” “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.” Other series include the “Law and Order” and “Chicago: Fire.”

The service will launch nationwide on July 15, the company said. It expects to reach 30 million to 35 million active accounts by 2024.

Peacock will be one of the last entries in the crowded streaming landscape, dominated by Netflix Inc and including Walt Disney Co’s Disney+, Apple Inc’s Apple TV+, Inc’s Amazon Prime Video, Hulu (controlled by Disney), and ViacomCBS Inc’s CBS All Access. In May, AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia will launch its new streaming service, HBO Max.

Unlike the majority of those services, which make money from subscription revenue, Comcast will earn revenue from commercials that stream with its programming.

Peacock will include 10 types of advertising formats, such as so-called shoppable ads that let viewers purchase products, but will limit the amount of ads to no more than 5 minutes per hour. Other networks have upwards of 12 minutes of advertising per hour of TV.

Among the new ad formats, brands can buy an exclusive sponsorship that will limit ads to just one commercial during an episode.