Peacock Has Arrived, But Is It Worth Getting?

There is a new player in the streaming game. Enter NBCUniversal’s Peacock. The service officially launched on July 15. You can view it through its app or go to PeacockTV.com, also available to Comcast customers. So what’s Peacock all about? How does it stack up against its competitors? What’s their programming consist of? Is it worth subscribing to? I took a look at it and here is what I observed.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT:

It’s basically the same type of service as all the other streamers. Peacock has the rights to NBC and Universal properties so that gives some exclusivity on that front. Properties of classics such as Jurassic Park, The Matrix, and the Bourne franchise are just a few to name.

On the television side, favorites such as 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and This is Us. They do have a nice slate of some classic TV shows like Cheers, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, Two and a Half Men and SNL. Plus, a little personal bonus for me was seeing classic episodes of Saved By the Bell and the original Unsolved Mysteries.

SUBSCRIPTION & COST:

The thing that makes Peacock appealing is that they do have a big library of free content. It’s very randomized, but free if you search around. You can get all seven seasons of 30 Rock for free! Same applies to all five seasons and all the episodes of Saved By the Bell, that’s 99 episodes of SBTB for FREE. That’s appealing.

On the contrary, if you want to watch Ray Donovan you’ll have to pay up and subscribe to premium service. Shrek fans will also have to subscribe to watch. As I mentioned it’s very random on what’s pay to watch versus free, so you’ll have to individually go through your favorite shows and movies to see what’s locked and what’s free.

Ok, so you all want to know the price of the service. The subscription is divided into two tiers. One with ads and one without. The basic service with ads but with all the content unlocked will cost you $4.99 per month. Pretty affordable and comparable to a service such as Hulu and Apple TV. The subscription without ads will cost you double, $9.99 per month.

Based on my initial observations, Peacock seems to be pretty light on ads. So it’s not an influx of them. If you’re watching a movie, you’ll get the ads before it starts so that the movie goes uninterrupted. Peacock promises to limit the commercials to five minutes per hour. Not bad at all, I could stand the ads for the free version that way.

HOW DOES IT FARE AGAINST THEIR COMPETITORS:

Peacock is the brand new kid in town. There is still a lot to find out and see in comparison to Netflix and Hulu who have been in the streaming game for a while and have the seniority. Peacock doesn’t seem far behind, considering Apple TV, launched earlier this year and HBO Max barely two months prior. Disney+ arrived late last year also. Majority of the streaming services are fairly new, so Peacock isn’t far behind.

The advantage Peacock does have is seeing their competitors and learn from their successes and failures. This way they can self-analyze their potential shortcomings. They don’t have too much time to make an impact, so they have to come out firing.

CONCERNS:

Unfortunately for Peacock, they planned to have a huge slate of programming devoted to the Olympics. With no Olympics scheduled due to COVID-19, that takes away Peacock’s major platform showcase. Another concern is that they don’t have distribution through Roku and Amazon TV. Those are two of the biggest connected TV services around. That could lose them lots of potential viewers and subscribers. They need to strike a deal with those two providers ASAP.

Original programming is what ends up separating many steaming services from each other. Netflix is the king of original programming. Their model thrives on original programming only they can provide. Just look at phenomenon of Tiger King.

As of this moment, Peacock has a very limited and bare slate for their original programming. The drama Brave New World, that stars Alden Ehrenreich (Solo movie) is one of their featured original programs. Additionally, the thriller series The Capture and comedy original Intelligence, starring David Schwimmer. The Psych movie is an original on the movie front, plus a handful of Olympic themed documentaries.

Point being, they will have to create much more original programming to stay afloat.

ADVANTAGES:

One thing that they are doing that can reap benefits would is a “Trending” section. With one click you can see what is trending in news and sports. Meaning, you can get up-to-date news right on the spot while watching Peacock. This is the kind of feature that will make it a news source location, so instead of browsing for news on your phone, online or on TV, you can just get it one-click away.

Another advantage Peacock has is the live sports. That’s huge. Aside from the exclusive rights to the Olympics, they will boast an array of sports. Premier League Soccer, NFL’s Sunday Night Football, NHL, Golf, PGA and Horse Racing Triple Crown. That’s an all-around slate of sports that will be available through Peacock and NBC.

On the news front, you have properties such as Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, MSNBC, CNBC and even Dateline. That’s as deep of a news slate as it gets. People tend to like their particular news channels and personalities, which certainly will draw in many viewers to Peacock.

PROS:

  • Extensive free library of shows and movies
  • Limited ads
  • NBC and Universal properties
  • Price

CONS:

  • Lack of original programming
  • Mediocre properties featured
  • Limited overall content and channels
  • No Roku and Amazon TV availability

VERDICT:

Overall, Peacock appears to be a promising streaming platform. It’s never easy to be a newbie, but they have a lot of backing and big players behind them. Comcast, NBC and Universal are a major force. The funds shouldn’t be an issue in terms of upgrades and investment. That all depends on how much emphasis and value they are placing on Peacock. I’d imagine it being a lot.

Peacock is most definitely worth a download and visit. There is just too much free content not to see it. In terms of subscription I’m on the fence over signing up for the $5 a month at this moment, mainly due to the lack of original programming and unavailability on Roku and Amazon. This is a fluid situation however. If they correct both of those then I’d probably sign up. I wouldn’t spend the $10 for the no-ads feature. I feel the ads are light as is, so hopefully they keep it that way.

PRICE: 7/10

ORIGINAL CONTENT: 3/10

NEWS/SPORTS: 9/10

PAID CONTENT: 6/10

FREE CONTENT: 8/10

AVAILABILITY: 5/10

CREATIVITY: 8/10

STREAMING SERVICE: 5/10

Check out Peacock for yourself and find out if it’s worth your time and money

Please click on the social buttons to FOLLOW and SUBSCRIBE

Written by Jim Alexander

Jim Alexander hails from Chicago where he started his journalism career as a film critic and founder of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle (CIFCC). He's a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic. Jim founded Reel Talker as a platform to share his love of movies and entertainment. Jim's favorite part of being a journalist is getting to meet and interview actors, filmmakers and entertainers. Jim is a host and on-camera personality for AfterBuzz TV. Aside from his work with Reel Talker, he's the site owner of the Bachelor Universe website, where he recaps and talks about all this ABC's 'The Bachelor'. He also runs the Reel Talker Podcast that can be found on iTunes. In his free time he enjoys attending sports events and playing in recreational leagues. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

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