NBCU Strikes Roku Deal for Peacock

Peacock Investor Day Publicity 2- H 2020
Courtesy of Jason Hoffman/Peacock

The companies have been locked in negotiations for months over the distribution of the streaming service.

Two months after the launch of NBCUniversal's Peacock, the streaming service will be accessible on Roku devices.

Roku announced a distribution deal that will bring the new streamer to Roku users in a few weeks and that will also keep NBCU's TV everywhere apps on the platform. It comes after a heated round of negotiations this week that enveloped the TV everywhere apps, which would have gone dark on Roku platforms without a new deal.

"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," Roku said in a statement. "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 released its own statement, saying it was "thrilled" that millions of people would be able to access the ad-supported app on Roku devices. Peacock has attracted 15 million sign ups since launch. Roku has 43 million active accounts using its devices.

"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," reads NBCU's statement. The company added, "Roku's incredible reach will not only help us ensure Peacock is available to our fans wherever they consume video but continue to expand NBCUniversal’s unrivaled digital presence across platforms."

NBCU and Roku have been locked in negotiations for months over the distribution of Peacock, the ad-supported streaming service that rolled out to most Americans in July. At the time of Peacock’s launch, NBCU wasn't able to strike distribution deals with Roku or Amazon, which meant that some 70 percent of connected TVs in the U.S. didn't carry the service.

At issue in NBCU’s talks with Roku, sources previously told THR, was the control of Peacock's advertising inventory. Roku typically asks partners to share some of that inventory, but sources said NBCU didn't want to give away any spots  because it shows less than five minutes of advertising each hour on Peacock.

In the two months since Peacock’s launch, NBCU and Roku came close to striking a Peacock distribution deal twice but weren't able to finalize an agreement, according one of the sources with knowledge of the talks. Amid the ongoing negotiations, NBCU’s deal with Roku over the distribution of its TV everywhere apps, which allows pay TV subscribers to stream the programming that they subscribe to via their cable bills, expired in September. The companies’ negotiations then became about not just Peacock but also the TV everywhere apps.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the new deal.

Now that Peacock is coming to Roku, Amazon is the last major holdout.