Comcast will soft launch its big streaming TV bet on Wednesday. Here’s an early look at Peacock, which will have NBC classics like ‘Parks and Rec’ and trending news.

Al Roker. Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
  • Comcast begins rolling out its big streaming TV bet, Peacock, to its customers on Wednesday.
  • Peacock executives virtually demonstrated the platform for reporters on Tuesday.
  • At launch, the service will open to timely “trending” programming like news and late-night segments.
  • It will also feature programmed “channels” that will start to resemble music-streaming playlists over time, and get more personalised.
  • Peacock will also have 15,000 hours of programming, including NBCUniversal classics like “Parks and Recreation” and “Jurassic Park.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Comcast begins rolling out its big streaming bet, Peacock, to its customers on Wednesday.

The streaming-video service is pushing timely programming like news and late-night segments, as well as NBCUniversal classics like “Parks and Recreation” and “Jurassic Park” to entice viewers at launch.

Peacock executives virtually demonstrated the platform for reporters on Tuesday.

The service opens to a “trending” tab with clips, trailers, and segments from NBC programming that’s meant to be “buzzy” and “snackable,” but also help viewers discover content that is popular with other viewers, Matt Strauss, chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital, explained during the demo.

Peacock trending homescreen
Peacock opens on its ‘trending’ tab. Peacock

In a separate tab, viewers will find “channels” that have been programmed specifically for Peacock. The channels focus on brands like “Saturday Night Live” and topics like true crime. Later on, Strauss said Peacock will add new channels and they will become personalised based on audience consumption. People will eventually also be able to skip ahead in the scheduled programming, if, for example, there was a marathon of “Saturday Night Live” reruns and a viewer wanted to jump to an upcoming episode.

“In the same way that cable television gave birth to digital networks and multiplexes, streaming can be a sandbox for us to rethink how we develop channels in the future,” Strauss said. “Over time, we also see channels becoming more and more personalised based on your viewing preferences, similar to what you see with music services like Spotify.”

Peacock channels
Peacock is thinking about ‘channels’ like Spotify playlists. Peacock.

Peacock also has a robust on-demand catalogue, which can be found in the “Browse” tab. It includes more than 15,000 hours of TV shows, movies, and kids programming.

The service has a sports section where Peacock intended to highlight the Tokyo Olympics come July. With the summer games postponed until 2021, Peacock will feature other sports in this section when they return, like the NFL Wild Card game and Premier League highlights.

Peacock browse
Peacock is touting 15,000 hours of on-demand content at launch. Peacock

Peacock is launching at a unique moment for streaming video.

On one hand, the streaming landscape is at its most competitive, after the rise of ad-supported channels like The Roku Channel and Pluto TV, debuts of streaming services Disney Plus and Quibi, and the continued growth of incumbents Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

On the other hand, people are spending more time at home, which could present an opportunity for a platform like Peacock to capture their attention.

Comcast said its customers are also watching more video. On-demand consumption increased 50% year-over-year during the week ending March 29, the company said.

Peacock has already won over some major advertisers, with marketers like Capital One, Molson Coors, Verizon, Target, State Farm, Unilever, and others signing up as launch sponsors, as NBCUniversal announced on Monday. The company said Peacock will have a maximum of five minutes of commercials per hour on average, for customers who have the ad-supported version.

Peacock is being test first for two months with Comcast customers, who will get access for free alongside their Xfinity X1 and Flex video services. The test will feature ads.

The platform goes live nationally on July 15, with three tiers of service:

  • Free, including 7,500 hours of movies and TV shows, or half of what will be available in the paid version at launch
  • $US4.99 per month with ads, including the full programming lineup
  • $US9.99 per month without ads, including the full programming lineup

For an inside look at the key executives building Peacock, visit BI Prime: Meet the power-player execs running NBCU’s Peacock, Comcast’s big bet to challenge Netflix and rule ad-supported streaming