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The company said Wednesday that it will stream every event live, as well as NBC’s primetime show and studio programming, on Peacock’s premium tier. All paid subscribers (the premium tier costs $4.99 per month with ads) will have access, with no pay TV subscription required.
That is a significant change in strategy from the Tokyo Olympics, which ran last summer. Last year, the company streamed gymnastics, track & field and men’s basketball on Peacock, and had some streaming-exclusive studio programming. The hope was that these tentpole sports (basketball was exclusive to the paid tiers, the others streamed for free) would drive subscriptions.
However, the main NBC primetime show, and all other events, were only available to stream on NBCSports.com with an authenticated pay TV login, consistent with prior Olympic Games. The result was that the only way to watch all the sports was to pay for cable or satellite TV. The 2022 games flip that on its head.
In addition to live coverage of the 15 sports and opening and closing ceremonies, NBC will make replays of all events available to stream on Peacock immediately after they end, as well as daily programming, medal ceremonies and other coverage. The company’s TV coverage plans will be announced at a later date, and the Beijing Winter Olympics will kick off with the opening ceremonies on Feb. 4.
“We are excited to offer NBC Olympics’ storytelling and complete streaming coverage of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Peacock,” said Molly Solomon, executive producer of NBC Olympics and Paralympics, in a statement. “This approach provides the American audience with a dynamic, easy-to-use Olympic viewing hub where not a single moment, live or on-demand, will be missed.”
“As the streaming destination of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Peacock will offer the ultimate fan experience all in one place,” added Kelly Campbell, president of Peacock, in a statement. “From every live event and gold medal moment to exclusive daily shows, channels and original documentaries, viewers will be able to easily catch up and keep up on all the action throughout the Games with our comprehensive Olympics hub on Peacock.”
The impact of last year’s Olympics on Peacock remains somewhat muddled, with the company declining to break out specific subscriber numbers after the Olympics concluded. According to research from Antenna Data, the Olympics were the biggest paid sign-up driving event for the service up to that date, driving 151 percent more paid sign-ups than The Office, and 108 percent more than WWE WrestleMania. However, the potential for churn after the games ended may have led to the decision to hold back on subscriber numbers.
The decision to stream the Olympics live also raises the potential for conflict between NBCU and some of its partners, including the carriers who pay for its channels. However, one group that is on board with the decision is NBC’s local affiliates.
In an email to The Hollywood Reporter, Emily Barr, the CEO of Graham Media Group and chair of the NBC Affiliate Board, wrote that “we did discuss all of this with NBC and came to an understanding about the Olympics and live sports that works for both parties. NBC affiliates have the opportunity to participate in Peacock and NBC has acknowledged the value of its affiliates accordingly.”
Updated 1:45PM with comment from Emily Barr.
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