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Samsung QLED televisions on display at the company's Digital Plaza store in Seoul. Photo by Bloomberg.

Samsung’s Peacock Standoff with NBCUniversal Shows Power of TV Makers

Photo: Samsung QLED televisions on display at the company's Digital Plaza store in Seoul. Photo by Bloomberg.

As streaming TV becomes the default viewing option for Americans, the makers of streaming devices are taking the place of cable operators as gatekeepers, deciding what streaming services will be available to viewers. Increasingly the gatekeepers include not only Roku and Amazon but smart TV makers such as Samsung. NBCUniversal is learning that the hard way as it battles to get its Peacock service onto Samsung TVs.

NBCU and Samsung haven’t been able to agree on financial terms for adding Peacock to Samsung sets, say people familiar with the situation. TV manufacturers typically demand a piece of a service's subscription revenue or a cut of an ad-supported service’s ad inventory as the price for putting the service on their TVs, the people say. Samsung, which controls more than a quarter of the smart TV market, is a particularly powerful player.

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