A big part of Comcast’s strategy to date to grow NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock’s subscriber numbers has been offering free Peacock Premium (usually $4.99 a month) to Xfinity cable subscribers and Xfinity internet subscribers with a Flex device. That deal (promoted in the above image), which also came with the option to get the ad-free Premium Plus tier at a $5 discount (it’s usually $9.99 a month) instead, is now about to end. As Jason Gerwin reported at The Streamable Sunday, new Xfinity customers will no longer get this beginning in April, and existing customers will have the free Premium replaced with an unspecified discount in June:
— The Streamable (@TheStreamable) February 12, 2023
Here’s more from that piece:
The news was originally leaked on Reddit through internal support documentation.
The Xfinity documentation said:
- Starting April 3, Peacock Premium will no longer be included for new Xfinity video and Flex customers. Customers will be presented with discounted offer details within the Peacock app.
- Starting June 26, Peacock Premium will no longer be included for existing Xfinity video and Flex customers. Bill messages begin Feb. 13. Customers will be presented with discounted offer details within the Peacock app.
NBCU has routinely spoken openly about its plan to eventually remove the complimentary access that Comcast cable and internet customers get to Peacock’s ad-supported subscription tier.
“How do we convert [Xfinity users] to paying subs?” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said. “We’re looking at it as a total company. We don’t want to just do it from an NBCUniversal perspective. So the question is, how do we do that and when do we do that in a way that adds value to the whole company, and we’re deep in discussions on that. Over the next year or two, we’ll be probably moving towards that model.”
This comes after two other notable moves around Peacock. In January, Comcast ended its agreement with Cox that gave Cox subscribers the same free Peacock Premium access as Xfinity subscribers. And earlier this month, Comcast killed the free version of Peacock (which has much more limited content) for new subscribers, although it’s still an option for existing subscribers. As we noted in January, Peacock was at 20 million subscribers overall as of the end of 2022, but expected to post losses of $3 billion this year.
For sports fans in particular, Peacock is notable for weekly exclusive MLB games, one exclusive Notre Dame game a year, and some exclusive documentaries. There’s also a lot of sports content distributed across Peacock and NBCUniversal broadcast (also often available through Peacock) and cable properties, including the Premier League, this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup (in Spanish, in conjunction with Telemundo), NASCAR, the SuperMotocross League, and new this fall, the Big Ten. So some key questions there are how many Xfinity users will become paying Peacock subscribers once this change is made, and how that will affect Peacock’s overall distribution levels and sports viewership.