Media & Entertainment

Peacock looks to original movies, a Lionsgate partnership, and new ad formats to compete on streaming

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In today’s IAB Newfront presentation, Peacock announced its first step into original films, a deal with Lionsgate, next-day streaming of shows on Bravo, expansion of established franchises, among many other announcements like a new (and somewhat questionable) ad format.

In the recent quarterly earnings report for the first quarter of 2022, Peacock added 28 million monthly active accounts, however, it lost $456 million on revenues of $472 million. It’s possible these announcements are an attempt to up its game as it has to compete with far larger competitors such as Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney+, and Netflix.

Peacock added 4 million paid subscribers in Q1, up 44% from last quarter

The President of Peacock, Kelly Campbell, was adamant that the company is “on the heels of our biggest quarter ever,” she stated during the presentation.

To back this up, Peacock announced three upcoming original movies, co-created with Universal Pictures, which are set to premiere in 2023.

Kelly Campbell, President, Peacock and Direct-to-Consumer and International, NBCUniversal, said in a statement,

“We know people join Peacock to watch movies, so we are constantly adding more to serve fans. Together with the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, we are excited to deliver fresh, exclusive, original films next year to our customers in addition to the legendary Universal Pictures blockbuster films and beloved franchises streaming now.”

Upcoming titles include “Shooting Stars,” which explores LeBron’s background as a high-school basketball player; “Praise This,” starring Chloe Bailey; and John Woo’s reimagined “The Killer.”

These mark the first-ever exclusive films on Peacock, however, the streamer is pretty late to the party, and three original movies might not cut it. Peacock will have to push out a lot more exciting original films to impress its subscribers.

New content and a deal with movie studio Lionsgate

The streaming service isn’t new to original content and has several original series. One example is “Bel-Air,” the platform’s most-streamed original series to date, which Campbell touted during the NewFront presentation and said that over eight million accounts watched the reboot.

While there were a lot of eyes on the screen, how true is it that the viewers actually enjoyed watching “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” remake? For instance, the show got a 5.9 out of 10 rating on IMDb and a 66% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Guardian also harshly called the drama “confused” and “joyless.”

Image Credits: Peacock

Reboots are saturating the media landscape these days, and Peacock is no different than its competitors. The company announced an expansion of its long-established franchises and plans to release original series based on characters from “Pitch Perfect,” “Ted,” and others. Also coming to the service is Pete Davidson’s new show “Bupkis,” among additional titles that aim to attract its younger, diverse audience.

The NBCUniversal-owned streamer also unveiled a deal with Lionsgate to stream the studio’s theatrical releases beginning in 2024. The agreement will bring movies exclusively to Peacock and NBCUniversal networks for their Pay 2 window (exclusive release windows following a film’s theatrical release). This includes the studio’s 2022 slate, and the first title to hit the streaming service will be “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” with Nicolas Cage.

Last week, Lionsgate revealed a multi-year deal with The Roku Channel, which offers the platform exclusive rights to Lionsgate’s film slate immediately after the first pay theatrical window on Starz. Roku users get to enjoy titles such as “John Wick 4” and “Borderlands” on a free streaming service, whereas Peacock subscribers will have to wait two more years to watch them.

New ad formats debut

During the presentation, Peacock disclosed plans for a “frame ad,” where a brand will get a frame around the content that the viewer wants to watch, and an “in-scene ad,” which integrates a brand’s advertisement during post-production.

Image Credits: Peacock

The new ad format with frames (pictured above) could distract viewers. Regardless of if this is a brand that a consumer wants to see, having ads on the screen while a show is playing will cause some annoyance for sure.

Image Credits: Peacock

The other ad format, the in-scene ad (pictured above), is less distracting, but marketers might find it hard to attract consumers if the brand is only highlighted in a short scene.

As ad-supported tiers become more popular, with Disney+ and now Netflix joining the fray, marketers may test similar ad tactics but should be mindful not to ruin the viewing experience for consumers.

Other announcements in the presentation include:

  • Next-day streaming of shows on Bravo like “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Top Chef” (which used to live on Hulu)
  • Updates to the user interface like a cinematic view, one-to-one personalization, easier access to playback, vertical left-hand navigation, video previews, and more.
  • A new feature dubbed “Catch Up with Key Plays” will allow English Premier League fans to watch highlights without having to leave the in-game viewing experience.

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