Amazon’s $8.5 billion bet on MGM is the latest sign that tech is transforming Hollywood. Here are the biggest deals that have altered the streaming world.

star wars harrison ford han solo chewbacca
  • The media business keeps consolidating, and Amazon’s purchase of MGM Holdings isn’t the first sign.
  • Disney bought 21st Century Fox in 2019, gaining control of Hulu, and AT&T is merging WarnerMedia with Discovery.
  • The deals signal a trend that many in the media world realize survival lies in the streaming market.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It’s official – Amazon is acquiring MGM Studios’ parent company for $8.45 billion, it announced Wednesday.

That means that movies and shows owned by MGM could eventually appear on Amazon’s Prime video streaming platform for users to watch.

It’s yet another instance of a tech company partnering with a film industry power player to round out its streaming offerings and compete with deeply entrenched rivals like Disney and Netflix.

And as streaming services continue to gain favor over traditional TV, media firms are likely happy to oblige, helping further industry consolidation. Film studios without their own streaming service are especially keen on finding a way to get eyeballs on – and monetize – their libraries.

Here are some of the biggest mergers, acquisitions, and deals amongst tech platforms and traditional film companies that have set the stage for the streaming wars.

Disney and 21st Century Fox

drew barrymore never been kissed
Drew Barrymore stars in 1999’s “Never Been Kissed.”

Disney bought the film company 21st Century Fox and its decades-old 20th Century Studios subsidiary, in a $71 billion sale that closed in 2019. Disney’s streaming platform, Disney+, launched in December of that year with films like “Never Been Kissed” and “Ever After” available to watch.

Those 21st Century Fox films will join Disney’s already attractive library it built with past acquisitions of LucasFilm -home to “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” – and Marvel.

The Fox deal also gave Disney control of Hulu

handmaids tale
Elisabeth Moss stars in “Handmaid’s Tale.”

Hulu has always had a complicated ownership setup, but Disney now owns a majority of the company and maintains full operations of the streaming platform.

Through its 21st Century Fox acquisition, Disney also absorbed the corporation’s 60% stake in Hulu, one of the original streaming services that launched in 2007. It later acquired AT&T’s 9.5% stake in Hulu, bringing its stake to about 70%.

Comcast is the only other shareholder, which is guaranteed to own a minimum of 21% thanks to a 2019 deal.

Disney even offers a $13.99 bundle that includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.

Netflix announced a deal with Sony in April

Tom Holland SpiderMan
Tom Holland has played Spider-Man in five MCU movies.

The agreement will allow Netflix to offer Sony’s future 2022 films in the US, including installments of the “Spider-Man” franchise with Tom Holland. Other potential future Sony releases could include “Jumanji” and “Ghostbusters.”

After Sony’s movies are released in theatres in 2022, they’ll first go to pay-per-view and then hit Netflix.

As Insider’s Travis Clark reported, the deal gives Sony – which doesn’t have its own streaming platform – an avenue to showcase its films. And it gives Netflix even more theatrical releases to entice paying customers.

Disney will also have Sony movies after Netflix has its turn

Spider-man
Tom Holland as Spider-Man.

After a Sony film is released in theatres in 2022, has its pay-per-view television run, and spends an expected 18 months on Netflix, it’ll be offered on Disney+ and Hulu. Sony and Disney said the US licensing deal will be in effect from 2022 until 2026.

The agreement means that future “Spider-Man” movies could eventually call Disney+ home alongside Disney-owned Marvel’s film franchise, which Holland appears in as well.

Sony and Disney ran into a snag in the past over Sony’s movie rights to hundreds of Marvel characters and Disney’s Marvel productions. The solution was for Disney and Sony to agree on the Spider-Man character being allowed to appear in one more standalone film and another Marvel Cinematic Universe installment.

AT&T’s massive WarnerMedia-Discovery merger will create a new streaming giant

wonder woman 1984
“Wonder Woman 1984.”

The communications giant announced last week that it was spinning off its WarnerMedia content arm, which includes HBO and Warner Bros., both of which AT&T acquired when it bought then-Time Warner for $81 billion in 2018. AT&T plans to merge WarnerMedia with the media company Discovery.

That means content from the two companies’ 100-plus brands, including HGTV and Discovery, would all exist under one umbrella. Such a service could give Netflix, the reigning streaming champ, a run for its money. The deal is expected to close in mid-2022.

The Discovery Plus streaming platform had already launched in early January with subscriptions starting at $4.99 and showing programs from Food Network, HGTV, TLC, BBC, and Discovery Channel, home to Shark Week. It was the first new streaming service to launch in 2021.

MGM Studios is home to the oldest and most beloved film classics

James Bond movies
James Bonds over the years.

Amazon is shelling out $8.5 billion to acquire MGM Holdings, whose 97-year-old MGM Studios is behind some of the world’s most classic movies and TV shows. The company said that the “more than 4,000 films” and “17,000 TV shows” were big factors in making the purchase.

Movies include “Silence of the Lambs” starring Anthony Hopkins, “Rocky,” and the extensive James Bond film catalog. Although as Insider’s Travis Clark reported, MGM owns just half of the rights to Bond, with the rest belonging to producers that handle the creative direction of the franchise. That means that it could get tricky if Amazon ever wanted to, say, produce a TV series starring the famous character.

Viacom merged with CBS in 2019 with Paramount already under its belt

a quiet place 2
Emily Blunt in “A Quiet Place 2.”

Viacom’s acquisition of Paramount may have closed in 1994, but the move set the company up well for what would become the 21st-century streaming wars. So did Viacom’s merger with CBS in 2019.

The streaming service CBS All Access launched in 2014 and was rebranded as Paramount Plus in 2020 as the pandemic drove a business boom in the streaming market.

Since “A Quiet Place 2” is distributed by Paramount Pictures, the movie starring Emily Blunt will be available on the streaming service on July 12.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The new Florida law that fines tech platforms for removing politicians has a huge loophole for companies that own theme parks in the state

congress ron desantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law targeting big social-media companies.
  • Private citizens will be able to sue tech platforms for up to $100,000 if they’ve been treated unfairly.
  • The rules protecting free speech do not apply to companies that own theme parks in the state.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A specific exemption included in a new law signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to draw fire from critics including the Internet Association, an industry group representing 40 of the world’s leading internet companies.

The legislation, SB 7072, was signed by DeSantis on Monday and bills itself as a way to hold tech companies accountable and protect individuals’ ability to post, share, and access content on social media.

The law forces social-media companies to host all candidates for political office in the state, regardless of what they say, or face fines of up to $250,000 per day. In addition, private Florida citizens who feel they have been unfairly treated by the big tech companies will be able to sue the platforms for up to $100,000.

“Many in our state have experienced censorship and other tyrannical behavior firsthand in Cuba and Venezuela,” DeSantis said in a statement. “If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable.”

But there’s a massive loophole written into the law that exempts companies that own theme parks in the state.

“Social media,” as defined by the bill, “does not include any information service, system, Internet search engine, or access software provider operated by a company that owns and operates a theme park or entertainment complex.”

In other words, the new law won’t apply to Disney, which operates Disney World in Florida, and Comcast, which operates Universal Studios. And other companies like Facebook and Twitter could avoid liability simply by opening – or simply buying – an amusement park in Florida.

Indeed, one Democratic lawmaker asked that very question in the debate over the bill back in April.

“If Facebook buys a theme park, does that prevent us from being able to regulate what happens on Facebook?” asked Rep. Andrew Learned, according to NBC Miami.

“If they bought a theme park and named it Zuckerland and he met the definition of a theme park under Florida statute, then yes,” Republican Rep. Blaise Ingoglia replied.

According to the statute, Zuckerland would need to have at least “25 contiguous acres” and serve at least 1 million visitors per year to be legally allowed to ignore the content rules on Facebook.

The bill also requires social-media companies to inform users of what types of content are allowed on their platforms – like the terms of service and acceptable use policies that users already must agree to in order to access their accounts.

Companies would be further required to give notice when changing their policies, like those emails users already get that say “We’re updating our policies.”

If a news story is clearly untrue, but just so happens to come from a news outlet, social platforms would be prohibited from taking steps to make sure the fake news doesn’t go viral, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“We the people are standing up to tech totalitarianism with the signing of Florida’s Big Tech Bill,” DeSantis said on Twitter.

Another law in Texas, Senate Bill 12, echoes much of the language from the Florida legislation, calling for “protection from censorship or discriminatory enforcement of content regulations.”

Some Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have claimed that platforms like Facebook and Twitter censor right-wing voices, but research shows conservative content dominates online platforms.

Florida’s SB 7072 is “more about politics than prevention, as the bill arbitrarily exempts major mass media corporations as long as they are also in the theme park business,” said the Internet Association’s senior vice president of state government affairs, Robert Callahan, in a statement on Monday.

In addition, both the Florida and Texas rules apply only to platforms with more than 100 million users. Parler, a favorite app of conservatives, has just a fraction of that, and a Texas lawmaker’s proposal to have the law apply to platforms with 25 million users was defeated.

“This type of legislation would make children and other vulnerable communities less safe by making it harder for us to remove content like pornography, hate speech, bullying, self-harm images and sexualized photos of minors,” said Facebook’s Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis, in a statement to the Austin Business Journal.

Florida’s measure goes into effect on July 1, 2021.

Read the original article on Business Insider

CEOs like Google’s Sundar Pichai and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella are among the most overpaid CEOs, according to a new report

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the Google I/O 2016 developers conference in Mountain View, California
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a developers conference.

  • As You Sow has released its seventh annual report detailing the 100 most overpaid CEOs.
  • The top 30 CEOs on the list includes Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella.
  • Nine companies have made the list every year, including Walt Disney, Goldman Sachs, and IBM.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

CEOs like Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella are among the top 100 most overpaid CEOs, according to a new report from As You Sow.

It’s no secret that CEOs of S&P 500 companies make good money. However, As You Sow’s list doesn’t rank by the size of a CEO’s salary. Instead, the corporate responsibility non-profit uses different metrics to identify whether or not a CEO is being overpaid.

To do this, the study took three main factors into account: the amount of extra dollars a CEO receives based on past company performance and pay, the number of shareholders who voted against a CEO’s pay package, and the ratio comparing the executive’s compensation to the company’s median employee pay. The latter was weighed less heavily.

Coincidentally, the highest salary on the list happens to belong to the most overpaid CEO: Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, who receives a pay of $280,621,552, according to the report. To compare, the median pay of Alphabet workers sits at $258,708, which is a CEO to worker pay ratio of 1,085 to one.

Pichai is being paid an excess of $266,698,263, according to As You Sow.

Another tech giant, Microsoft, also made the list in 24th place. Satya Nadella, the head of Microsoft, earns $42,910,215. According to the study, Nadella is being paid an excess of $27,896,691.

The median pay of Microsoft’s employees is $172,512, which is a CEO to worker pay ratio of 249 to one.

Several social media companies are seen as giants in Silicon Valley, but only one was included in the report: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, in 73rd place. Zuckerberg has a pay of $23,415,973, which, according to the study, contains an excess of $9,479,977.

To compare, the median employee pay at Facebook is $247,883. This amounts to a CEO to worker pay ratio of 94 to one, lower than both Microsoft and Alphabet’s.

However, the list wasn’t just dominated by tech leaders. Bob Iger, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Lachlan Murdoch of Fox Corporation, and Miguel Patricio of the Kraft Heinz Company were all listed among the top 30 most overpaid CEOs.

And according to the study, companies that have consistently graced the list are performing worse than those that have never been mentioned. As You Sow has published this report annually since 2015, and nine CEOs have made the list every year, amounting to a total pay of $2 billion. However, these nine businesses have seen a lower annualized shareholder return compared to S&P 500 companies that have never made the overpaid CEO list.

These nine companies include: Discovery, Walt Disney, Comcast, AT&T, Goldman Sachs, IBM, McKesson, Ralph Lauren, and Regeneron.

This consistent overpaying of CEOs can signal several concerns, specifically “poor accountability, weak governance, and lack of concern for shareholder interests,” the study notes.

However, this overcompensation issue may soon be changing as more shareholders are beginning to vote against these hefty CEO paychecks, according to Rosanna Landis Weaver, the report’s author.

“We might be going into a spring where we see higher votes against pay, particularly at companies that try to insulate their executive compensation from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Weaver told Insider.

These were the top 30 most overpaid CEOs, according to As You Sow’s new report:

30. Norwegian Cruise Line – Frank Del Rio

Pay: $17,808,364

Excess: $6,617,002

Median worker pay: $16,925

29. Walgreens Boots Alliance – Stefano Pessina

Pay: $19,156,202

Excess: $7,266,357

Median worker pay: $34,074

28. HCA Healthcare – Samuel Hazen

Pay: $26,788,251

Excess: $14,094,249

Median worker pay: $56,012

27. Netflix – Reed Hastings

Pay: $38,577,129

Excess: $23,649,474

Median worker pay: $202,931

26. AT&T – Randall Stephenson

Pay: $32,032,925

Excess: $19,313,311

Median worker pay: $98,630

25. McKesson – John Hammergren

Pay: $17,400,207

Excess: $5,240,500

Median worker pay: $38,026

24. Microsoft – Satya Nadella

Pay: $42,910,215

Excess: $27,896,691

Median worker pay: $172,512

23. Linde – Stephen Angel

Pay: $66,149,325

Excess: $52,644,326

Median worker pay: $40,601

22. Coty – Pierre Laubies 

Laubies was replaced halfway through 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Pay: $16,211,992

Excess: $5,574,670

Median worker pay: $43,242

21. Mylan – Heather Bresch

Pay: $18,509,260

Excess: $7,524,895

Median worker pay: $43,367

20. Qualcomm – Steven Mollenkopf

Pay: $23,065,052

Excess: $9,744,629

Median worker pay: $90,259

19. Marathon Petroleum – Gary Heminger 

Heminger retired from the company in April 2020.

Pay: $24,129,164

Excess: $11,768,410

Median worker pay: $27,507

18. General Electric – H. Lawrence Culp Jr.

Pay: $24,553,788

Excess: $13,339,908

Median worker pay: $50,471

17. Centene – Michael Neidorff

Pay: $26,438,425

Excess: $13,257,871

Median worker pay: $68,987

16. Activision Blizzard – Robert Kotick

Pay: $30,122,896

Excess: $15,867,848

Median worker pay: $94,308

15. Fiserv – Jeffrey Yabuki

Yabuki stepped as CEO mid-2020, Marketwatch reported.

Pay: $27,601,026

Excess: $13,842,124

Median worker pay: $65,254

14. Comcast – Brian Roberts

Pay: $36,370,183

Excess: $23,330,783

Median worker pay: $78,869

13. Fidelity National Information Services – Gary Norcross

Pay: $27,658,117

Excess: $13,926,647

Median worker pay: $59,235

12. T-Mobile – John Legere

Legere stepped down as T-Mobile’s CEO at the end of April 2020.

Pay: $27,756,690

Excess: $13,798,277

Median worker pay: $62,195

11. Advanced Micro Devices – Lisa Su

Pay: $58,534,288

Excess: $40,542,122

Median worker pay: $96,874

10. Fox Corporation – Lachlan Murdoch

Pay: $42,111,103

Excess: $28,735,479

Median worker pay: not provided

9. Las Vegas Sands Corporation – Sheldon Gary Adelson

Adelson died this year and was replaced by Robert Goldstein as CEO.

Pay: $24,680,118

Excess: $11,976,674

Median worker pay: $42,228

8. Universal Health Services – Alan Miller

Pay: $24,473,240

Excess: $12,397,998

Median worker pay: $38,931

7. Intel – Robert Swan

Swan was replaced by Pat Gelsinger as CEO of Intel this month.

Pay: $66,935,100

Excess: $53,244,455

Median worker pay: $96,300

6. The Kraft Heinz Company – Miguel Patricio

Pay: $43,297,480

Excess: $31,390,609

Median worker pay: $42,689

5. The Walt Disney Company – Bob Iger

Iger stepped down as CEO of the Walt Disney Company in February 2020.

Pay: $47,517,762

Excess: $34,885,856

Median worker pay: $52,184

4. Howmet Aerospace – John Plant

Pay: $51,712,578

Excess: $39,321,473

Median worker pay: $55,497

3. CVS Health – Larry Merlo

Merlo retired from his CEO post this month.

Pay: $36,451,749

Excess: $24,311,079

Median worker pay: $46,140

2. Discovery – David Zaslav

Pay: $45,843,912

Excess: $33,823,935

Median worker pay: $79,343

1. Alphabet – Sundar Pichai

Pay: $280,621,552

Excess: $266,698,263

Median worker pay: $258,708

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Comcast’s investing arm Comcast Ventures unraveled

Good morning and welcome to Insider Advertising for February 25. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

But first, we’re looking to highlight the top PR pros helping companies go public. Submit nominations here by March 5.

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here for your daily insider’s guide to advertising and media.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at LJohnson@businessinsider.com or on Twitter at @LaurenJohnson.


Comcast logo
Comcast logo

Comcast Ventures was once a kingmaker for healthcare benefits startups. Then its team fell apart.

Read the story.


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Carolyn Ryan on “Meet the Press” in 2014

Carolyn Ryan is the most powerful woman in The New York Times newsroom – and she could become its next top editor

Read the story.


Netflix
Netflix.

Netflix has an elite ‘Lstaff’ team of 23 execs that helps make the company’s biggest decisions. Here are its members, who range from key content VPs to data leads.

Read the story.


More stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at LJohnson@businessinsider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

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150 business leaders, including Google’s Sundar Pichai and longtime Trump ally Stephen Schwarzman, are backing Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill in a letter to Congress

Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, President Joe Biden, Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, President Joe Biden, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

  • More than 150 execs at big US firms have said they support Joe Biden’s relief package.
  • Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and Google CEO Sundar Pichai were among those who signed a letter to lawmakers.
  • “Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package,” the execs wrote.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

More than 150 executives from top US companies spanning a range of industries including finance, tech, and real estate have backed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in a letter sent to Congress Wednesday.

They include Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, who was a longtime ally of President Donald Trump; Google CEO Sundar Pichai; and Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon.

The letter, written by the Partnership for New York City, was addressed to Charles Ellis Schumer, the Senate majority leader; Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House; Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader; and Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader.

The letter calls for lawmakers to approve the relief package. The executives said they “urge immediate and large-scale federal legislation to address the health and economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

CNN first reported on the news.

Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan, the American Rescue Plan, includes proposals for additional $1,400 stimulus checks, bigger federal unemployment benefits, and expanded family and child benefits, as well as plans to tackle the pandemic through testing, vaccines, and support for reopening schools safely.

“Previous federal relief measures have been essential, but more must be done to put the country on a trajectory for a strong, durable recovery,” the executives wrote.

“Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package along the lines of the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed American Rescue Plan.”

John Zimmer, the cofounder and president of Lyft; Brian Roberts, the chairman and CEO of Comcast; Larry Fink, the chairman and CEO of BlackRock; and John Stankey, the CEO of AT&T, also signed the letter.

Executives from the following companies are among those that signed the letter:

  • Banking and investment: Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, Visa, S&P Global, MasterCard, and Blackstone
  • Technology: Google, Intel, IBM, Siemens, Zoom, DoorDash, and Lyft
  • Hospitality and retail: Loews Hotels & Co, LVMH, Etsy, and Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Airlines: American Airlines, United Airlines, and JetBlue Airways
  • Telecommunications: AT&T and Comcast
  • Real estate, insurance, and utility firms

Schwarzman was a longtime ally of President Donald Trump who defended Trump’s lawsuits challenging his loss in the 2020 US election. In the aftermath of the January 6 Capitol riot, Schwarzman said he was “shocked and horrified” by the insurrection and called for a peaceful transition to Biden.

Biden has previously said the US needs new measures to deal with both the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

“We can’t let one wait,” he told reporters earlier this month. “We can’t get everybody well and then move on the economy. We have to move quickly on both.”

The executives supported this stance in their letter.

“Strengthening the public health response to coronavirus is the first step toward economic restoration,” the executives wrote, per CNN.

Biden and the White House have been working with business leaders to gather support for his stimulus deal.

On February 10, Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Gap, Lowe’s, and the Chamber of Commerce to discuss the stimulus deal and the push for a $15 federal minimum wage.

Biden’s administration has also spoken with representatives from the Business Roundtable, Ernst & Young, General Motors, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Black Economic Alliance, a White House official told CNBC.

The role big businesses play in politics has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of the Capitol siege. Dozens of top US businesses halted donations to Trump and other lawmakers who challenged the election’s integrity.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Peacock offers free and premium plans with tons of NBC shows, including ‘The Office’ – here’s how to sign up

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

peacock browse
Peacock is a new streaming service from NBCUniversal.

  • Peacock is a streaming service featuring NBCUniversal TV shows, movies, sports, and news.
  • The base plan is ad-supported so you can watch most of the catalog for free with commercials.
  • Peacock Premium ($5/month) has even more content, and Peacock Premium Plus ($10/month) is ad-free.

Peacock is the on-demand subscription home for NBCUniversal movies and shows, making it the only place to stream hit series like “The Office.” Comcast, NBCUniversal’s parent company, launched free and premium versions of Peacock in July 2020.

Peacock’s rotating library is full of classic Universal movies, including franchises like “Jurassic Park” and “Fast & Furious.” The “Harry Potter” movies are also available on a rotating basis.

The service has brokered deals for new original series produced by Tina Fey and Kevin Hart, as well as rights to stream classic shows like “Law & Order” and “Will and Grace.” A new original series adapting the book “Brave New World” is also available, along with original films, like “Psych 2,” and exclusive documentaries, like Dale Earnhardt Jr’s “Lost Speedways.”

As live sporting events resume in 2021, Peacock will broadcast the Premier League and the 2021 Olympics. The service will also be the exclusive home of WWE Network shows and events starting March 18. A number of popular sports radio shows, including “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “PFT Live with Mike Florio” are streaming exclusively on Peacock, too.

With Peacock now available for everyone nationwide, we’ve broken down some of the basics, including full details on pricing, plans, content, and supported devices.

What is Peacock?

NBC Peacock Logo
Peacock launched nationwide on July 15.

Peacock is a streaming service created by NBCUniversal with three subscription plans: Free, Premium, and Premium Plus. The platform offers a collection of TV shows, movies,  and original series, along with live sports and news updates. 

Content can be viewed via an on-demand library or via special streaming channels broken down by genres and franchises.

Peacock’s catalog includes a mix of new and classic NBC shows, like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Office,” and Universal films. Peacock original programs will also be offered to premium subscribers.

For detailed impressions, you can read our Peacock review here.

When can I sign up for Peacock?

Peacock launched nationwide on July 15, 2020. You can sign up for a Free, Premium, or Premium Plus subscription right now through the Peacock website. Premium and Premium Plus plans both come with a free seven-day trial for new members.

Where can I watch Peacock?

peacock trending homescreen
Peacock Premium gives you early access to late night shows like “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”

Peacock’s streaming app is available on Vizio and LG smart TVs, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices, Roku, Android TV, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Chromecast, Xfinity, and Flex devices. The service is also available through its official website. You can browse a full list of supported devices here.

Unfortunately, Fire TV products are still missing official support for the Peacock app.

Is Peacock free?

The base version of Peacock is free, but there are commercials. Peacock promises more than 7,500 hours worth of movies and TV with the free version of Peacock, but you can get access to twice as much content by upgrading to a Peacock Premium plan.

Though Peacock Premium usually requires a subscription fee, if you’re an Xfinity X1 or Flex customer you can access Peacock Premium for free by searching for the app on your Comcast device and entering your email. 

How much does Peacock Premium cost?

Peacock Premium costs $5 per month or $50 per year. However, Peacock Premium still has commercials. If you want to watch without ads, you need to upgrade to the Peacock Premium Plus ad-free plan for $10 per month or $100 per year.

The Peacock Premium catalog includes new original series, gives subscribers access to exclusive content from NBC shows, and lets you watch ongoing series, like “Saturday Night Live,” the day after they air on TV.

Peacock Premium and Peacock Premium Plus plans both come with a free seven-day trial for new subscribers. If you already subscribe to Xfinity internet or cable you get Peacock Premium for free with your current subscription. 

What shows and movies are on Peacock?

jurassic world: fallen kingdom
Universal films like “Jurassic World” are available through Peacock on a rotating basis.

Peacock features more than 15,000 hours worth of TV and movies, though you’ll need a Premium subscription to access the full catalog. NBCUniversal says about half of the catalog, more than 7,500 hours worth, is available for free.

You can stream classic NBC shows, like “The Office,” “Law & Order,” “30 Rock,” “Parks & Recreation,” “Friday Night Lights,” and “Saturday Night Live.” Peacock Premium users can access new episodes of ongoing NBC shows the day after they air. Daily broadcasts from NBC News and MSNBC also stream on Peacock, and subscribers can access past documentaries and “Dateline” investigations.

Universal film franchises, like “Fast & Furious,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Bourne Trilogy,” are part of the rotating catalog, along with classic movies like “E.T.,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Schindler’s List,” and “Lost in Translation.” The “Harry Potter” series is also part of Peacock’s rotating library. Peacock’s movie selection isn’t permanent, however, so some titles may be removed or added back from time to time. 

Peacock Premium subscribers will also be able to watch new original shows, including a new Tina Fey-produced series called “Girls5Eva,” as well as a new comedy special and an interview show from comedian Kevin Hart .

Peacock even includes exclusive children’s content with new episodes of shows like “Curious George,” “Where’s Waldo,” and “Cleopatra in Space.” Universal kids films, like “Shrek”, “Despicable Me,” and “Trolls World Tour,” will also be part of the Peacock library.

Peacock features live sports for free, including matches from the Premier League and the PGA Tour’s US Open. “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,”and “PFT Live with Mike Florio” also stream exclusively on Peacock. Starting March 18, wrestling fans will be able to watch WWE Network shows and PPV events as part of a Premium or Premium Plus membership.

Though the platform’s launch was meant to coincide with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the coronavirus pandemic led to the postponement of the Summer Games until 2021. Instead, Peacock has offered past Olympic highlights and exclusive interviews with Olympic athletes.

For more streaming coverage, be sure to check out our guides to the best streaming services and the best streaming sticks and devices.

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New data suggests ‘The Office’ gave a boost to NBCUniversal’s Peacock, but losing the show didn’t hurt Netflix

the office
“The Office”

  • “The Office” left Netflix at the end of 2020 for NBCUniversal’s Peacock.
  • New data from Antenna shows the series gave Peacock a boost in signups.
  • But the data also suggested that the show leaving Netflix didn’t hurt the streaming giant much.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

“The Office” is giving NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, a boost after the show left Netflix.

But Netflix wasn’t dealt a major blow by the show’s departure.

The hit sitcom, which was consistently one of Netflix’s most popular shows until leaving for Peacock this year, generated more signups to Peacock than when the service launched nationwide in July, according to the analytics company Antenna (it had soft launched for Comcast customers in April).

The show also drove 3.9 times the signups compared to the average December weekend, according to Antenna.

Antenna pulls from a variety of opt-in panels like budgeting apps to track purchase and transaction data. The data excludes signups to Peacock’s free tier.

NBCU declined to comment.

Peacock includes the free, ad-supported tier along with two paid subscriptions tiers: the ad-supported Premium, unlocks all of Peacock’s content, and the ad-free Premium Plus. Peacock saw a 9 percentage point increase in subscriptions to the Premium Plus plan in the first two weeks of January compared to the month of December.

The chart below breaks down the data:

peacock antenna office data

While this data doesn’t include Peacock’s free tier, previous Antenna data from December shed light on the make up of Peacock’s signups.

It showed that Peacock and Apple TV Plus made up just 2% combined of streaming market share in the US. Peacock had 26 million signups at the time and the data suggested the majority of those were free-tier signups since Antenna only accounted for the subscription tiers. Peacock had 33 million signups as of late January, Comcast said during its most recent earnings call.

The absence of “The Office” didn’t seem to hurt Netflix much, however, which has 200 million subscribers worldwide and 67 million in the US. US Netflix subscribers that signed up for Peacock in January showed a 4.7% increase in churn compared to those who didn’t sign up for Peacock. But less than 1% of Netflix subscribers signed up for Peacock in January, according to Antenna, so the overall churn rate wasn’t impacted much.

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Comcast to launch 29 WiFi hotspots for low-income students in the Washington, DC metro area

Comcast logo
Comcast says it plans to launch 1,000 Lift Zones in coming years.

  • Comcast announced plans Monday to establish 29 WiFi-equipped “Lift Zones” in the Washington, DC metro area. 
  • The project aims to provide low-income students with internet access through participating community centers. 
  • COVID-19 has highlighted the disparity in internet access in the US as it forced schooling online. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Comcast will roll out 29 of its WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” in Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Virginia over the next several weeks, the company announced Monday. 

The aim of the project is to provide free internet access to low-income families so they can more easily attend virtual schooling, look for jobs, access online resources, and participate in the digital economy, Comcast said.

The internet provider plans to set up 15 of the the internet-connected zones in Baltimore, 13 in Washington, DC, and one in Virginia. Comcast Lift Zones will provide free WiFi at participating nonprofit organizations, including community centers, churches, and Boys and Girls Clubs. 

“We are proud to partner with community organizations across the Baltimore and D.C. metro areas and equip them with fast WiFi service to provide kids with safe and reliable connectivity to learn, keep up with school and expand their educational opportunities,” Misty Allen, Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast’s Beltway Region, said in a statement.

“We believe that these Lift Zones will provide another choice and make it convenient for students and families to connect at a trusted local nonprofit location.”

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The COVID-19 pandemic forced state and local governments to suspend in-person learning in favor of virtual alternatives, highlighting the lack of equitable internet access across the country.

A 2020 study from Common Sense, an education-focused nonprofit, found that between 15 million and 16 million US students lack adequate internet access for remote learning, and 9 million of those students also lack the necessary devices. 

In New York City, a class-action lawsuit seeking to make the city provide WiFi in homeless shelters is moving to a trial. In a ruling earlier this month moving the suit to an expedited discovery, US District Judge Alison Nathan wrote: “Without internet connectivity, homeless students are deprived of the means to attend classes.” She added, “And because homeless children who lack internet access and reside in New York City shelters cannot attend school for as long as that deprivation exists, the City bears a duty, under the statute, to furnish them with the means necessary for them to attend school.”

Comcast has said it plans to launch more than 1,000 Lift Zones in coming years to help address this disparity in internet access. The company also runs an “Internet Essentials Partnership Program” which has partnered with cities, school districts, and community organizations to equip more than 4 million students with internet access at home. 

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