Thursday, January 16, 2020, 10:47 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
This afternoon at 4pm ET, Comcast will host an Investor Meeting to share details about NBCUniversal’s upcoming Peacock streaming service. It is a session comparable to what Disney and Apple did last year for Disney+ and Apple TV+ respectively (and what AT&T/WarnerMedia will do for HBO Max). So we all get to learn all the official information about Peacock: pricing, availability, content, overall strategy/fit with existing businesses, marketing, etc.
Following the format of other investor days, we will hear from senior NBCU and Peacock executives, and likely someone from Comcast. Matt Strauss, an old friend of mine, who was moved over from Comcast to become Chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises late last year, will no doubt be the maestro of this afternoon’s session. All the dribs and drabs of information that have been shared by the company previously will be reconciled with all of the rumors and speculation that have gurgled up from around the web.
The Disney and Apple investor days were significant because the hype around each company’s plans was off the charts. Due to resources being devoted to Disney+ and Apple TV+ (and the A-list talent that would be featured on stage) these sessions were important to understand where all hype would meet up with reality.
But if I were to rank order investor days solely by how much impact one established company’s plans will have on the broader industry - depending on what choices are made - I’d put Comcast at the top of the list, and therefore today’s Peacock investor day, as the most consequential one we’ve seen so far.
Although Comcast has shifted its primary focus from video to broadband/services over the past couple of years, the fees it still pays to carry TV networks in its Xfinity service remain enormously important to the health of the industry’s value chain (talent/player salaries, sports rights-holders deals, franchise values and ultimately all the way down to detailed production budgets and how much can be spent on mundane things like catering services). Even the smallest change in Comcast’s video strategy has real ripple effects throughout the industry.
For the past month or so I’ve been thinking about all the different topics that Comcast/NBCU has to address this afternoon, and how every one of their answers will be scrutinized (I shared a bit of this back in November). I was planning to put a full preview together for VideoNuze readers, but then last night I found my way to LightShed Partners “Peacock Investor Day Handbook: 13 Questions You Need to Ask NBC” (complimentary, but registration required) which comprehensively addresses everything I’d been thinking about and more. LightShed is long time video analyst Rich Greenfield’s new firm. Kudos to him and his partners on a really valuable guide for what to look for.
So for today I’m leaving it at this: read LightShed’s handbook sometime by 4pm ET today to be thoroughly prepared. Then watch Matt and his team do their thing. Colin and I will parse through what we’ve learned on our weekly podcast later today, which we’ll release tomorrow morning. For other video industry nerds like me, the Peacock Investor Day is “must-see TV” (sorry I couldn’t resist). Now someone please pass the popcorn.