Peacock raising prices by $2 ahead of the Summer Olympics as streaming wars rage on

NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock plans to raise prices for its ad-free service by $2 to $13.99 a month ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris as competition for online viewership intensifies.

Peacock’s ad-supported option will also increase by $2, to $7.99 a month. The annual price for ad-free will cost $139.99, while the version with ads will be $79.99.

The price changes will take effect for new subscribers starting July 18, one week ahead of the 2024 opening ceremony. Existing customers will see the new pricing on or after Aug. 17.

Even with the latest increases, Peacock still stands on the lower end of streaming platform price ranges. Netflix’s top-tier subscription now costs $22.99 a month, while ad-free Hulu is $17.99 and premium Max (formerly HBO Max) is $19.99. Peacock’s newest prices will match those of Disney+ once the changes take effect.

Peacock currently has 34 million subscribers, giving it about 1.3% of the total TV market according to Nielsen data. That compares with 1.2% for Max, 1.9% for Disney+ — and 7.7% for Netflix.

Overall streaming viewership continues to climb, rising 12% in March year-on-year according to Nielsen, and now commands nearly 40% of all TV consumption. Yet the platforms are still aggressively fighting for viewers. The latest casualty of that battle is Bob Bakish, who is stepping down as CEO of Paramount as that company continues to push its Paramount+ service, with mixed results.

While traditional media companies represent the main players in the streaming race, it is a traditional tech company that now dominates: YouTube, which is owned by Google-parent Alphabet, attracts the largest share among streaming platforms, with some 10% of the entire market alone.

Sreaming platforms continue to raise prices even in the face of ‘subscription fatigue,’ a phenomenon that other players have begun capitalizing on with the introduction of advertising-based video-on-demand (AVOD) channels like Pluto TV and Tubi.

“Because we know that subscription fatigue is setting in, people will only pay so much for subscriptions,’ Pluto TV CEO Tom Ryan said in a speech last fall. ‘You need the ability to actually expand your bundle for free.”

While the service is not yet profitable, Peacock continues to add users at a steady clip. It received an outsized bump in users thanks to the NFL playoff game it showed last season, most of whom have stayed with the service, executives said on Peacock-parent Comcast’s most recent earnings call. Peacock is also set to exclusively stream the 2024 NFL season’s kickoff game September 6 in Brazil.

Streaming platforms have also sought to protect their revenues from password sharing. While Peacock has not done so, many apps continue to announce new limits on the practice. In March, Max, which is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, said it would start limiting individual account access in 2025, following on the heels of similar announcements by Netflix and Disney+.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and NBC News.

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