Millions of Comcast customers, who have enjoyed free access to the company’s Peacock streaming service since its debut in 2020, are about to be handed a bill.
The company has confirmed to Variety that it will no longer include free access to Peacock Premium to subscribers in the coming months. That will force customers of Xfinity TV and broadband to choose between giving up the service or begin paying for the ad-supported network (which normally carries a $4.99 per month fee).
New customers will no longer receive the offer beginning April 3. And existing customers will see it disappear on June 26. This comes after Peacock did away with its free ad-supported service last month.
Comcast plans to offer users who currently receive Peacock for free a discounted rate, but that has not yet been determined.
Peacock, as of the end of last year, has 20 million paid subscribers, which is nearly double where it stood at the end of 2021. However, the service is still not profitable.
Streaming services are increasingly moving away from focusing on subscriber numbers and turning their attentions to profitability. That’s resulting in price increases that are making customers re-evaluate their loyalty to the channels.
That’s what has fueled the rise in ad-supported versions of Netflix, HBO Max and others in the past year. Subscriber sign-ups are slowing down as the market becomes saturated. Research indicates that U.S. consumers subscribe to 4.7 streaming services on average. To achieve growth, a subscription-based platform must displace a competitor—an increasingly difficult task. The other option is to offer a low-cost or free ad-supported tier.
To lure those paying subscribers, services are offering more exclusive programming, Peacock has a current hit with both Yellowstone and Rian Johnson’s Poker Face. It also has an exclusive window for films from Universal, streaming the films for four months before other services are able to do so.
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