Peacock Likely Won’t Reach Deals with Roku or Amazon Before Launch

NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, will launch nationally on July 15. While Peacock has announced distribution on Vizio and LG Smart TVs, Google devices, Apple devices, Xbox, the two largest streaming platforms are missing from the list – Roku and Amazon. 

Distribution deals with Roku and Amazon will reportedly not be in place when the service launches in just a few days. 

“Peacock continues to negotiate with both Amazon and Roku,” a source familiar with the situation told CNBC, noting that the likelihood of reaching an agreement with either platform before launch is “less than 10 percent.”

Nearly 80 million households use Roku or Fire TV devices for streaming, which could cause a significant obstacle for Peacock as it attempts to break into the streaming space with strong subscriber numbers at launch. 

We saw the same situation with the launch of HBO Max. Prior to launching, the company sent out this statement. “We are doing everything in our power to make HBO Max available to as many customers as possible and our distribution team is hard at work trying to complete additional deals before launch.” Those agreements still haven’t been made, leaving Roku and Amazon users without a way to stream HBO Max on their devices and limiting the streaming service’s growth.

With Peacock facing the same issues, executives don’t seem bothered. In an interview with CNET, Matt Strauss, chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal’s Digital Enterprises said “When it comes to Peacock, we’ve got a very long-term strategy and vision for what we’re bringing to market. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon for us.”

“Our launch date on July 15, is our launch date,” he continued. “We’re in discussions with everybody … we would like to have the app available on all platforms, but we’re committed to launching on the date that we set forth.” 

Why can’t deals be made? There are two issues getting in the way, according to CNBC, user data and ad sharing. 

Amazon wants the app to be available through Amazon Channels, allowing customers to sign up through Amazon and giving Amazon a percentage of the revenue for signups. NBCUniversal wants to make a similar deal to Disney, making the app available on Fire TV devices without putting it in the Amazon Channels store. Along with giving up some revenue, having the app in the Channels store would give Amazon access to first-party user data that would be valuable for Peacock to deliver targeted advertising. 

When it comes to Roku, the issue is centered around advertising inventory. Roku takes a percentage of ad inventory for apps available on the platform, typically 30%. Peacock is reportedly negotiating for that number to be closer to 15% and looking to keep as much of the ad inventory as possible for itself. 

All parties seem to believe that deals will be made at some point.

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