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NBC announces Peacock streaming service will have free and paid premium options

The different options get you different content — more bang for your buck

Lead characters from “The Good Place” TV show Image: NBC via Polygon
Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Peacock, NBC’s Netflix-competing streaming service, will hatch on April 15 for Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and on July 15 for the rest of the country. The catch? Unlike HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, and every other streaming service currently commanding attention, Peacock will be free. That’s right, baby: all the Frasier you could possibly want (and The Office, I guess) for no subscription fee.

Well, that depends on which version of Peacock you sign up for. The NBC service will have tiers, one of which will be free and ad-supported. Peacock Free gets you next-day access to current seasons of new broadcast TV series, complete classic series, popular movies, and select episodes of Peacock-exclusive originals.

Peacock Premium, meanwhile, will come with a bunch of content on top of what you get for free: next-day access to current seasons of returning shows, full-season Peacock originals, and early access to talk shows. Comcast and Cox cable TV subscribers will get Peacock Premium at no extra cost. For everyone else, Peacock Premium will be available for $4.99 a month with ads and $9.99 with no ads.

With the announcement of Peacock, the streaming wars are finally heating up. WarnerMedia’s streaming service HBO Max will launch in May 2020, while Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus both launched last November. Peacock falls under the NBCUniversal banner, meaning it will be the home of sitcoms like Frasier, Parks and Recreation, and — after it leaves Netflix at the end of 2020 — The Office. (Friends, technically a Warner Bros. Television project, will settle on HBO Max.)

Like its competition, NBC intends to create reboots and sequels of popular shows in order to retain customers’ attention. On the docket already is a new take on Battlestar Galactica from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail; a follow-up to ’80s sitcom Punky Brewster; and a “revival” of Saved by the Bell. New content, such as a Brave New World adaptation once imagined for Syfy and a Telemundo show called Armas de Mujer, is also in the works.

Peacock will also host movies from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, and Illumination. The lineup will include Brokeback Mountain, Jaws, Mamma Mia!, The Breakfast Club, and Shrek, along with entries from the Bourne, Fast & Furious, and Despicable Me franchises. The studios in question also plan to make Peacock-exclusive original films.

NBC hopes to incorporate a new news service, along with sneak peaks of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show. It also plans to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics a big part of Peacock this summer.

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