Peacock Drops Free Tier Making New Users Pay

The Peacock streaming service run by Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal has discontinued its free tier for new customers offering only Peacock Premium and Peacock Premium Plus subscriptions. Free-tier access will no longer be an option for Comcast subscribers who have yet to sign up for Peacock.

Those who signed up for Peacock Free in the past or current premium-tier subscribers who want to downgrade their plan will still be able to watch for free. Peacock would rather give users the service for free than lose them.

The free tier is also available to those, like Cox internet customers, who previously signed up for the Premium tier for free. Comcast subscribers who sign up for Peacock will not get Peacock Free but can get Peacock Premium Plus for $5 instead of the usual $10 per month.

Peacock’s dropping their free plan comes when Sling TV and Roku Channel are adding to their free channels. Sling TV is adding 210 free channels that include A&E, Bravo, CNN, ESPN, TBS, TNT, and USA. Roku is adding 10 popular show channels, including Dateline 24/7, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the horror/thriller channel Screambox TV.

Nonetheless, Comcast reported having 20 million paid Peacock Premium subscribers at the end of 2022. This is a massive increase from 9 million subscribers in 2021. In the past, Peacock Free subscribers could sample an episode or two of a premium show. Now, you have to pick a plan even to see the app’s home page.

The free tier only includes some 10,000 hours of programming, which is expected to jump to 100,000 in 2023. An NBCUniversal spokesperson told Variety the shift away from Peacock Free to Peacock Premium “better reflects the streaming platform’s brand and the ‘unique’ experience it offers.”

Peacock Premium includes: original movies like Julia Roberts and George Clooney in Ticket to Paradise, Oscar nominee Tár, and M3gan; series like Poker Face, Nope, Dr. Death, Bel-Air, and Yellowstone; live sports Big Ten Football, the Women’s World Cup, and Premiere League; and classic NBC shows like The Office. Premium subscribers can also stream current season NBC TV shows The Voice, Saturday Night Live, and American Auto that were pulled from Hulu in the fall. Current programming is available the next day.

The upgrade may be more appealing with the current special deal where new users get 40% off the annual subscription. Peacock Premium’s ad-supported tier is $30 instead of $50.

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