NBCUniversal has discontinued the free ad-supported tier for new Peacock subscribers. The streamer debuted in July 2020 and gave viewers access to a wide library of NBCUniversal content, including The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Saturday Night Live, as well as original programmes such as Bel-Air, Angelyne, and Dr Death.
The service initially promised to give the best high-quality free material and free access to a multitude of first and third-party content. Premium paid access grants access to Peacock’s entire collection, which includes significant sports coverage from Barclay’s Premier League, Major League Baseball, and the Olympics, among other things.
According to Variety, NBCUniversal has halted Peacock’s free ad-supported tier for new users. Beginning January 30, the popular streaming service will only offer two premium tiers to new subscribers: the Premium plan with advertisements for $4.99 per month or the Premium Plus plan without ads for $9.99 per month.
Those who have previously signed up for the free tier can utilise the service indefinitely. This announcement comes as NBCUniversal prepares to discontinue free Peacock Premium access for Comcast Cable and Cox users. According to an NBCUniversal spokeswoman, the change is part of the company’s new strategy to focus on paid subscriptions to help the platform thrive.
Will the removal of the free tier harm Peacock?
Getting rid of Peacock’s free ad-supported plan would likely annoy anyone wishing to join the site. However, because the programme was launched over two years ago, anyone looking to enrol is likely to have done so by now, grandfathering them into the initial free plan. Peacock’s lower-cost Premium tier remains one of the most affordable options on the market when compared to Netflix’s Basic with commercials for $6.99, HBO Max’s $9.99 ad plan, or Hulu’s ad tier for $7.99.
One of Peacock’s most appealing features is the extensive sports coverage accessible under its Premium package. The service broadcasts the Barclay’s Premier League, one of the world’s most popular soccer leagues, collegiate sports, MLB, and all Sunday Night Football and post-season games.
The free ad-supported plan does not provide access to most of its sports content. With Peacock still holding licences to desirable sports material, most of the site’s approximately 20 million premium subscribers are unlikely to abandon the service due to the discontinuation of its free tier.
Peacock also continues to create high-quality content, especially for the streaming platform. Rian Johnson, the writer-director of Knives Out, has finally launched his much anticipated case-of-the-week television series Poker Face, starring Natasha Lyonne from Russian Doll.
Although deleting Peacock’s free tier appears to be a bold move by NBCUniversal, the decision is unlikely to significantly influence subscriber numbers. However, with great sports coverage and new outstanding programmes like Poker Face and Bel-Air, only time will tell if the removal of the tier will have a real impact on the service’s competitiveness.