On July 15, NBCUniversal launched Peacock, a standalone streaming service exclusively for NBCUniversal titles.
But let’s be honest, we’re all thinking it: Who needs another streaming service? 2020 marked the launches of HBO Max and Quibi; late-2019 gave us Disney+ and AppleTV+. Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon are available in most households, and then there are niche services like Shudder and Criterion. A bundle of streaming services can cost as much as or more than a premium cable subscription, which is what streaming was supposedly antithetical to in the first place.
These are the kind of pressing philosophical questions we can’t sufficiently answer in 2020, but for now we can examine Peacock specifically. What’s its deal, what’s the price, and is it worth it? Let’s take a look.
What’s the deal
With traditional cable facing more competition than ever and streaming services popping up left and right to fight for viewership, Peacock launchd for the same reason as its many peers: Money. TV and film audiences are moving to streaming — many even if they still pay for cable or go to the movies. Putting titles on streaming and earning money from a streaming services is another source of revenue for NBC, and the time is riper now than it was for Seeso (R.I.P.).
NBCUniversal had a similar awakening to Disney’s, which was that this is a company that owns many popular streaming titles. The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Community, Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live — the two things all these titles have in common are their popularity on streaming and the fact that they came from NBC. They’re not all on Peacock yet, but it’s safe to say that’s the long-term plan.
Unlike most streaming services, which are entirely paid after the free trial period, Peacock follows the model of Crackle, Vudu, and Tubi, offering a selection of free content to anyone, anytime, and locking premium programming with a paid subscription.
Free Peacock includes recent seasons of current NBC shows (like This Is Us) as well as full beloved series like Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, and more. You can also get movies like Do The Right Thing, The Matrix, and Jurassic Park, which are available on other streamers but require payment (or you can watch during your free trial).
Premium is $4.99/month (after a 7-day free trial) with ads, or $9.99/month without them. There’s also an annual subscription for $29.99/year. Existing Comcast Xfinity F1 and Flex customers have automatic access to Peacock Premium at no additional cost.
Is it worth it?
With the tier system in mind, free Peacock is totally worth it. Many Americans are still facing pay cuts or unemployment due to COVID-19, which makes it harder to justify the expense of multiple paid streaming services.
For a quick list of old favorites you can rewatch for free, click here. For a breakdown of new Peacock originals available with a premium subscription, click here. For much of Peacock’s TV selection, you can sample select episodes or seasons for free before deciding if you want to go Premium for access to the full series.
You can sign up for Peacock here.