Is there anything in streaming that seems more hung out to dry than the NBC app aside from maybe the NBC Sports app? NBC has had the apps available for years as a TV everywhere option for users who paid for NBC via a pay-TV provider. In the case of the NBC app, it linked them to not only NBC shows but a live feed of NBC via the app along with programming and live viewing from other channels owned by NBC Universal. The app also provides links to movies from across its brands. Gee does that sound familiar? It should. Because that is almost exactly what Peacock does except that it is all one app.
Since Peacock launched the idea of multiple NBC apps running alongside Peacock seemed like confusion waiting to happen. But at first launch, there were a lot of differences between the services. Peacock was not the exclusive home of much NBC streaming. It’s programming (outside of a few Peacock originals) was also available on Hulu. Peacock had no way to offer live TV streaming of local NBC affiliates. But as those things have changed Comcast has begun to market Peacock heavily as the home of NBC streaming. Peacock now has the capability to replace both the NBC Sports
app and the NBC app. The NBC app still exists. One can still sign into it if they are a pay TV customer. Maybe they just figure that NBC customers will watch the programming through the linear channels or the on-demend options available through their TV provider. But for whatever reason it feels like all of NBC’s new programming commercials completely ignore the NBC app and the NBC Sports app.
Pay attention when you watch TV and see a commercial for something like the upcoming Magnum PI season. It ends with a note “Streaming on Peacock” It does not say stream on Peacock or the NBC App. Sports is similarly being pushed a Peacock streaming thing. Again just watch how it’s marketed. NBC seems to want to make you forget that its website or other apps exist as a streaming option. This makes sense. For one it wants to entice people to sign up for one of the premium levels of Peacock. And two, Peacock is less confusing to explain. Want to watch this show? Then subscribe! No authentification, no padlocks over most of the shows.
Much like there were multiple HBO apps at one time, “HBO Now” for customers who wanted to get HBO content without also being a cable subscriber and “HBO Go” for HBO cable subscribers to watch their content away from home, having two or three apps that do more or less the same things with caveats it a waste of resources. Warner Media finally came to its senses when it launched HBO Max and provided a sign-in option for cable subs and non-cable users to get to the content and shuttered the other two apps. Starz follows the same model. One service two ways to pay and subscribe. But one app regardless. Comcast can simply let any pay-TV customer also access features from Peacock with a TV login.
This issue may even come up as Comcast negotiates deals with its affiliates and cable partners in the future. Comcast of course makes money in a completely different way when it comes to Peacock and retransmission fees from cable providers. The suits will have to figure out how to set the deals up so that they make financial sense. But its time to do so and move the company forward in a way that makes sense to everyone. Maybe it should tie the TV authentication with setting up a Peacock account. That way they will get the benefit of saying that they have more signups and allow them to flaunt higher numbers.
Either way, NBC, Sunday Night Football, The Olympics, USA, Syfy, Bravo and others need one pipe for internet consumption. In the end, it will only increase the number of contact points Comcast has with its audience.