Peacock Says User Profiles and Downloadable Content Options Are Coming Soon

Some consumers noted the initial absence of both functionalities, offered by most streaming rivals

Screenshot of Peacock
Peacock, which debuted nationally this week, is already planning a couple platform updates. Peacock
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NBCUniversal’s new streaming service Peacock had its nationwide debut just two days ago, but the service is already working on some new functionalities, including two that are offered by most of its rivals.

The platform, which debuted this week with a modest lineup of originals and a deep library of licensed and owned content, is working on rolling out downloadable programming for viewers—but only for those who pay for the ad-free tiers—and is also building out a feature so users can set up different profiles depending on who is watching, a spokesperson for the service said.

The exact timeline for when those features might become available are unclear, but the product roadmap highlights how Peacock is borrowing and implementing features from other streamers that are fast becoming expected among consumers. The streamer faced some critiques on social media in its first few days of being nationally for not having those features at launch.

There aren’t public plans for downloads to be available on either of Peacock’s two ad-supported tiers, likely due to the logistical challenges of placing advertisements into downloaded content, especially given the platform’s ambitious new ad formats. Other streamers with ad-supported offerings, like Hulu and CBS All Access, also do not offer download options for subscribers of those tiers.

The new functionalities are part of Peacock’s “marathon” effort to find a foothold among U.S. consumers with a free ad-supported tier and an inexpensive premium tier that also runs ads. It’s an effort from the company to sort out the next frontier of advertising. The company hopes that by 2024 it will have between 30 million and 35 million active users.

“Advertisers want to reach mass-market audiences, and historically the television ecosystem at NBCUniversal in particular has been one of the best—if not only—ways to do that,” Krishan Bhatia, evp of business operations and strategy for NBCUniversal’s advertising sales division, said. “We hope we can do that with AVOD streaming going into the future.”

There is one possible wrinkle in that plan, however: The service, like rival streamer HBO Max, is not yet available on Amazon Fire and Roku devices, two of the largest connected TV platforms on the market. It’s unclear when the impasse will let up. A Peacock spokesperson said that the streamer is made available to device-makers to put on its platforms for free.

Peacock has not yet announced information about how many people have downloaded the app or subscribed to the service, a strategy that chairman Matt Strauss told Adweek would likely be the case for some time. “We’re not looking to put soundbites out there,” Strauss said in an interview just before the service’s national launch, adding that he’d rather consumers’ reactions to the service speak for itself.

There is some information about the company’s national debut that can help offer up a yardstick as to the national response to Peacock so far. On its first day, the streaming service ranked No. 1 among free apps for iPhones on Apple’s App Store, and No. 2 on iPads, according to the app measurement firm Sensor Tower.

@kelseymsutton Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.
Publish date: July 17, 2020 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT