Cable Tech

NBCU's Peacock soon to run wild on Roku

After much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth, NBCUniversal and Roku have signed a deal that will bring Peacock, NBCU's new streaming service, to Roku's platform. The deal will ensure that dozens of other NBCU apps remain on the platform, too.

Update: NBCU and Roku announced Monday (September 21) that the Peacock app is now available nationwide on the Roku platform.

Financial terms and length of the new deal were not disclosed, but Roku noted that the new pact paves the way for NBC content to be offered on The Roku Channel, Roku's free, ad-supported content aggregation service. The new deal resolved an advertising-related standoff amid Roku's desire for NBCU and Peacock to supply content to The Roku Channel and to secure some ad inventory on the new Peacock service itself. It's not yet clear if Roku got everything it wanted.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Comcast that will bring Peacock to Roku customers and maintains access to NBCU's TV Everywhere apps," a Roku spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "We look forward to offering these new options to consumers under an expanded, mutually beneficial relationship between our companies that includes adding NBC content to The Roku Channel and a meaningful partnership around advertising."

"We are pleased Roku recognizes the value in making NBCUniversal's incredible family of apps and programming, including Peacock, available to all of their users across the country," NBCU said in a statement. "More than 15 million people signed up for Peacock since its national launch in July and we are thrilled millions more will now be able to access and enjoy Peacock along with other NBCUniversal apps on their favorite Roku devices. Roku's incredible reach will not only help us ensure Peacock is available to our fans wherever they consume video but continue to expand NBCUniversal's unrivaled digital presence across platforms."

The deal comes together as NBCU was close to pulling down 46 of its apps, including those delivering content from NBC stations, NBCU-owned cable networks and Telemundo stations. NBCU's distribution deal for the programmer's TV Everywhere apps with Roku expired at the end of August.

That prior deal, which centered on dozens of authenticated TV Everywhere apps that require pay-TV subscriptions, was being extended on an ad hoc basis while Roku and NBCU continued negotiations on Peacock.

The deal gives Peacock entry to a major streaming platform that's been missing from the list. Peacock launched nationally on July 15 and has 15 million-plus sign-ups. The Peacock streaming app has three service tiers: an ad-free, premium offer for $9.99 per month; an ad-supported, premium tier for $4.99 per month (both with 20,000 hours of programming); and a completely free, ad-based version featuring 13,000 hours of content.

Peacock is also offered on several other major streaming platforms, including Google (Chromecast, Android and Android TV), Amazon (Fire TV) and Apple (tvOS and iOS), as well as on certain Cox set-tops and Comcast's X1 and Xfinity Flex boxes.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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