Besides the May 27th launch of WarnerMedia/AT&T’s HBO Max premium streaming service, NBCUniversal/Comcast is gearing up to deliver its new streaming service Peacock on July 15th.

Executives with Comcast, the parent of NBCUniversal, recently revealed that a soft launch of the Peacock streaming service has been better than expected, boding well for the planned launch date this summer.

According to a report on trade site Multichannel News, a Peacock soft launch was offered to Comcast XFinity X1 cable customers and Flex broadband-only subscribers on April 15th. The company said it was pleased with the rate of adoption and user engagement with the service.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell reportedly told analysts on a Q1 financial conference call that thus far the amount of time that each person is spending on the service is encouraging.

The ad-supported Peacock service will be offered for free to Comcast and some Cox cable customers using the X1 platform, while other customers outside of those territories will pay about $4.99 per month for access. The plan is for the service to add mobile and smart TV streaming support. It will formally launch with about 15,000 hours of series, movies and other content from NBCUniversal networks and libraries and will ramp up over the course of the year and in 2021.

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Eventually Peacock is to be made available in two tiers — Free and Premium. The free tier will include 7,500 hours of ad-supported programming. A few episodes of new original Peacock shows will be available on the free tier the day after they first appear on the Peacock paid tier. Other fare will include complete classic TV series and popular movies. Also available will be curated daily news and sports programming including The Olympics (whenever they are held) and some Spanish-language content.

The Peacock Premium tier will have more than 15,000 hours of content for subscribers, or more access to more than double the hours of content available on the free tier. Paid subscribers will get access to all Peacock exclusive shows, along with more sports coverage and next-day access to current seasons of returning broadcast series. Airings of NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and Late Night with Seth Myers, will be available via Peacock at 8 pm ET and 9 pm ET, respectively, a few hours before they are shown by they debut over-the-air.

At the formal launch in July, a subscription to Peacock Premium will run $4.99 a month, with ads, or free to Comcast and Cox cable subscribers. Eligible Comcast and Cox customers who opt to pay $5 a month for the service will get it ad free. Non Comcast and Cox subscribers can get ad-free Peacock Premium service for $9.99 a month.

Available content will ramp up later in the year and next year with more original shows and full seasons of very popular past and present NBC broadcast network series including The Office and This Is Us. The company said content will include popular movies from Universal Pictures, Dreamworks Animation, and Focus Features.

Planned original content will include exclusive new TV shows and movies including reboots of some undisclosed well-known properties, the company has said.

There will be two tiers of Peacock subscriptions. One, Peacock Free, will be completely free to access, with ads. The other, Peacock Premium, will have more content but will have a price tag for most customers.

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By Greg Tarr

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