Xfinity ending free Peacock perk

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Fresh off the launch of Max, the streamer that replaced HBO Max, NBCUniversal’s Peacock is offering up a $20-a-year deal.

New subscribers will pay $19.99 upfront for a one-year subscription to Peacock, as savings of about $30 over the plan’s normal price.

The offer ends June 12, 2023, however.

There’s also another catch: The pricing is applied only to Peacock Premium, which features ads within on-demand and live content. Unlike the Peacock free plan, which also includes ads, it Premium does unlock access to the entire library of Peacock content.

Premium is normally $49.99 a year or $4.99 a month.

To get rid of most ads, you have to go to the Premium Plus tier, which is $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year.

Like most subscription services, Peacock comes with an auto-renewal feature, and subscribers who sign up under this promotion will be renewed at the then-current normal rates after one year, which is likely one factor Peacock is counting on to boost its numbers in the long-term even after giving a discount.

The move also comes at a time when Comcast, NBC’s parent, is cutting the free subscription to Peacock Premium as a benefit for Xfinity cable and broadband subscribers June 26, 2023. A similar move is also happening for Spectrum subscribers.

Peacock says it will offer affected users a limited-time offer on or around that date to continue having access to the service. Users who pay an upcharge for the Premium Plus tier via a pay TV provider will also be offered a deal to continue that arrangement, though pricing was not revealed.

Affected users will still be able to use Peacock’s free tier, though it has limited content and ads. Users will be defaulted to this free tier after June 26 if they don’t choose a paid plan.

It’s not common for streamers to have a deal with one or more pay TV, cellular or other business partners to give away free or low-cost access to its content. Some of these arrangements have no financial terms, especially if the goal is to build subscribers. In other cases, the other subscription services may pay a fee to NBCU, though likely at largely discounted rates.

This move comes at a time when streaming providers are looking for ways to become more profitable amid increasing concerns over a cluttered marketplace, consumer concerns about paying too much for recurring services and password sharing.

NBCU appears to think that cutting off the free subscription benefit could boost its bottom line. It was never disclosed if Comcast paid Peacock for the free subscriptions offered via Xfinity (though to some degree, this is essentially just moving money from one pocket to another given that the two companies share corporate ownership).