peacock launch

NBCUniversal’s new streaming platform Peacock has launched — kind of. The streaming service went live Wednesday as a “sneak peek” for Comcast customers only. It won’t be until July that Peacock will fully launch, but even then its slate of originals will be pared back due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock has officially joined the streaming wars with a soft launch for Comcast cable customers starting today. The Comcast launch will be a sort of teaser for the official launch in July, when the new streaming service — which will offer NBC library titles like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and movies like E.T. and Jurassic Park — will be made available to all consumers. But the bulk of Peacock’s original titles won’t even be hitting the streaming service until 2021, Variety reports.

Comcast is launching an “early preview” of Peacock Premium, an ad-supported tier of the streaming platform, for free to 31.5 million Comcast customers across the U.S. However, even the Comcast customers who get access to the streaming services will be limited: you won’t get Peacock at all unless you’re a Comcast Xfinity X1 or Flex subscriber. And even if that applies to you, you won’t get a mobile app, web viewing, or streaming on TV-connected device other than on the Comcast box. You also won’t get The Office until its deal with Netflix expires.

Update: Peacock is being made available first to Xfinity Flex subscribers, with Xfinity X1 subscribers soon to follow in the next few weeks, according to Comcast.

However, Variety expects Peacock to be fully available across all Comcast services by April 30. The early preview of Peacock Premium will include kids’ originals like animated series Where’s Waldo and Cleopatra in Space from DreamWorks Animation, as well as new episodes of Curious George. And at launch, Peacock Premium will include more than 15,000 hours of movies and TV shows, including library titles like Parks and Recreation, Law & Order: SVU, and Two and a Half Men, and films like E.T.Jurassic Park, and Shrek, as well as early access to content from NBC’s late-night shows.

But “a significant amount” of Peacock’s original titles will be delayed until 2021 due to production shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Matt Strauss, chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises. “We’re unclear when things are exactly going to be back to normal,” he added.

But Strauss is optimistic that Peacock will launch some original shows in 2020, including the reboots of Saved By the Bell and Punky Brewster, as well as the adaptation of Brave New World, the latter of which he called “essentially done.” Brave New World is probably Peacock’s highest profile original series set to debut this year, with Alden Ehrenreich, Jessica Brown Findlay, and Demi Moore set to star in the adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian novel.

Peacock will still launch nationally on July 15, when it will be available across mobile, web and connected-TV platforms, and as well as to subscribers of Cox Communications. Comcast and Cox subscribers will have the option of paying $5 for an ad-free version of Peacock Premium in July, while everyone else will get an ad-supported Peacock Premium for $4.99 per month or the ad-free version $9.99 per month. But for those not willing to shell out for another streaming service, the ad-supported Peacock Free service will offer about half the content of the premium version.

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