Verizon, Capital One, Subaru Among Peacock’s New Sponsors Ahead of Soft Launch

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NBCUniversal has lined up five more advertisers as launch sponsors for its new streaming service Peacock, bringing the total number of partners to 10 ahead of Wednesday’s soft launch for Comcast Xfinity Flex and X1 customers.

Capital One, L’Oreal USA, Molson Coors Beverage Company, Subaru and Verizon have signed on as some of the streamer’s first advertisers­, the company said today. Those brands join, Eli Lilly and Company, State Farm, Target and Unilever, whose sponsorships were announced in January when NBCUniversal held its investor day for Peacock.

All 10 advertisers and their respective brands will get category exclusivity as part of the launch sponsorship and will become part of the Peacock Streaming Council, a group of advertisers that will work in tandem to determine the best advertising and sponsorship approaches on the three-tiered streaming service.

“At a time when people all over the world are turning to our content for comfort, entertainment and connection, a consumer-first platform has never been more vital,” Laura Molen, NBCUniversal’s president of advertising sales and partnerships, said in a statement. “Thanks to our launch partners, that’s exactly what we’ve created together. Peacock will not only redefine the industry’s conception of what is possible for ad-supported streaming services, it will open the door to new opportunities for viewers and marketers alike.”

The launch sponsors will promote Peacock on their own sites and platforms and will also be involved in NBCUniversal’s brand marketing campaign for Peacock, which is still targeting a July 15 national debut. Those promotional efforts will likely look a lot different than previously planned: The forthcoming streaming service was slated to get considerable promotion and airtime during the 2020 Summer Olympics, which last month was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Peacock will enter a crowded streaming market with a three-tiered service that, at its lowest tier, is free and ad-supported, with about 7,500 hours of programming that NBCUniversal digital enterprises chairman Matt Strauss said in January would serve as a “robust front porch” to the service’s paid tiers. The second ad-supported tier, which has 15,000 hours programming, will be free to Xfinity video and broadband customers and Cox broadband customers; everyone else will have to pony up $4.99 a month. A third ad-free tier is $5 a month for Xfinity and Cox subscribers, and $9.99 for everyone else.

The advertising experience on the service is intended to be limited and consumer friendly, with a maximum of five minutes of advertising per hour of programming. Peacock will launch with a number of ad options, including shoppable ads and standalone “prime pod” ads that are available on NBCU’s linear properties, as well ad formats designed just for Peacock such as voice-activated ads, programming sponsorship options and spots that appear while consumers are browsing the Peacock programming library.

Peacock will also be included in the first iteration of NBCUniversal’s One Platform offering, which is designed to act as a one-stop shop for marketers to buy ad inventory across NBCUniversal’s linear and digital properties and target cross-platform audiences. While One Platform will take three years to complete, NBCU plans to have its earliest version available by the time this year’s upfront conversations, which have largely been delayed due to COVID-19, begin happening in earnest.

Peacock—along with forthcoming streamer HBO Max and recently launched mobile-only streamer Quibi—hopes to capture consumer dollars from entrenched streamers like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, but the platforms find themselves entering the market during a much bleaker economic picture than previously anticipated due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While streaming usage has surged due to shutdowns around the country, there’s an expectation among some in the industry that inexpensive or free ad-supported streaming services may be able to weather a bleak economic climate and worsening consumer sentiment. The broadcaster Fox Corp. last month acquired the free ad-supported streaming service Tubi to bolster its AVOD assets; NBCUniversal parent company Comcast acquired the free streaming service Xumo a month earlier.

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