Roku and NBCUniversal Reach Deal for Peacock, Renew Agreement for NBC TV Apps
Peacock (Courtesy of NBC Universal)
Peacock will finally be taking flight on Roku devices, after months of wrangling — and NBCUniversal’s TV apps will not be going dark on Roku after all.
Roku and NBCU reached a deal Friday afternoon that will provide access to the Peacock streaming app on the streaming platform’s players and Roku-enabled TVs. In addition, the companies renewed their agreement to keep 46 NBCU broadcast and cable apps on Roku, after the media company had threatened to pull them this weekend over the dispute over Peacock.
Under the companies’ expanded pact, NBC content will be added to the free, ad-supported Roku Channel. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. But there is money changing hands, in the form of NBCU providing some kind of value to Roku: The platform company said it has a deal for “a meaningful partnership around advertising.”
Peacock will be coming to the Roku Channel Store within a few weeks, pending technical integration work between the two companies.
Roku said in a statement, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Comcast that will bring Peacock to Roku customers and maintains access to NBCU’s TV Everywhere apps. We look forward to offering these new options to consumers under an expanded, mutually beneficial relationship between our companies that includes adding NBC content to the Roku Channel and a meaningful partnership around advertising.”
NBCU praised Roku’s “incredible reach” in announcing the deal. “We are pleased Roku recognizes the value in making NBCUniversal’s incredible family of apps and programming, including Peacock, available to all of their users across the country,” an NBCU rep said in an emailed statement. “More than 15 million people signed up for Peacock since its national launch in July and we are thrilled millions more will now be able to access and enjoy Peacock along with other NBCUniversal apps on their favorite Roku devices.”
Each side had accused the other of making unreasonable demands: NBCU wanted Peacock to be distributed on Roku without giving up a share of the advertising inventory on the service. Roku was insisting on getting some kind of compensation.
Peacock launched nationwide July 15, but until now it has been unavailable on Roku as well as Amazon Fire TV. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max remains unavailable on Roku and Fire TV over deal disagreements.
Such distribution standoffs are likely to become more common as Roku and Amazon flex their big installed bases. Roku reported 43 million streaming accounts as of the end of June; Amazon says Fire TV has more than 40 million customers. Prior to Roku’s standoffs over Peacock and WarmerMedia’s HBO Max, the highest-profile case of a similar dispute was when Fox’s TV app was pulled from the platform in January 2020 — before they made peace and the app returned at the 11th hour, one day before the Super Bowl.
Peacock is available in three tiers: Premium Free (with ads) and Peacock Premium, which includes a bigger content selection, available with ads ($4.99/month) and no ads ($9.99/month). In addition, Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and Cox Contour subscribers have access to Peacock Premium with ads for no extra charge (or the ad-free tier for $5/month).
Variety's Todd Spangler contributed to this post.