Comcast plans to use its Flex connected TV device, which is free to its broadband customers, to help promote the upcoming Peacock video streaming service from its NBCUniversal entertainment arm.
NBCU CEO Steve Burke, who made the announcement, didn’t explain exactly how the promotional support would work. It would be interesting if the company offers Peacock for free to its broadband customers through Flex.
NBCU will launch Peacock next spring, offering two versions: one for cable subscribers that will be free and supported by ads, and a paid subscription for consumers without cable. Pressure will be on NBCU to build up an audience for Peacock quickly, which could be hard to do inexpensively given Disney, WarnerMedia and Apple are all launching their services first.
Offering Peacock for free to all Comcast broadband subscribers would make sense at least as a short-term promotion. Broadband is the fastest growing customer segment for Comcast—the company added 379,000 broadband subscribers in the third quarter, surpassing Wall Street’s expectations. Comcast also has more people who take broadband without video, so giving it to all broadband customers would start Peacock with a bigger audience of 25 million households. (In contrast, only 21 million of those take video).
That would help NBCU lure advertisers to spend money on the streaming service.