Thursday, January 6, 2022, 11:53 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Yesterday Peacock and NBCUniversal announced that every minute of every live event at the upcoming Winter Olympics from Beijing will be streamed on Peacock. In addition, full replays of all competition will be available on Peacock immediately upon conclusion. Peacock viewers will also have access to the Opening and Closing ceremonies, the studio shows and medal ceremonies.
The announcements are smart moves and allow Peacock to clearly communicate and promote that all events will be available on the service. It’s a big improvement from last summer’s Olympics, which had incomplete coverage on Peacock and where replays and clips of concluded events sometimes were delayed and/or showed up on YouTube prior to being posted on Peacock itself. The execution fell short of many Peacock viewers’ expectations.
As Colin and I discussed on the podcast recently, that was a missed opportunity for Peacock to introduce itself to millions of new subscribers and also put Peacock on a level playing field, if not a better one, than broadcast and cable. And with tens of millions of U.S. homes doing without any pay-TV subscription, streaming is now the only way that they can access live TV.
As a comparison, ViacomCBS has included live CBS network streams in Paramount+, which provides a lot of value to homes without pay-TV, to access NFL games, for example. NBCU has taken a more cautious approach, not including live sports streams in Peacock. It will be interesting to see whether the Olympics is a first step toward bringing more live sports into Peacock, or more of an exception.
In the press release, Peacock noted that the Olympics live streaming will be available for “premium tier customers.” It’s not clear what content might still be included for viewers on the free Peacock tier. It’s also not clear how Peacock will execute the live streams for subscribers to its $10/month ad-free tier.