Comcast Corp. is no longer accepting new subscribers to the free version of its Peacock streaming service, the latest sign that big media companies are trying to wring more money from their online TV forays.
The service, which features original programming, as well as content from the company’s NBC TV network and Universal film studio, launched with great fanfare in mid-2020. To differentiate from rivals Netflix, Disney+ and others, Peacock featured three tiers, including a free, ad-supported version.
While existing subscribers to the free tier can still view programming, new customers must now choose between two plans, premium at $5 a month, or the ad-free premium plus, which costs $10, according to the company website.
Comcast said last week its losses on the service will peak at $3 billion this year. Still, Peacock is gaining momentum. The service added 5 million paid subscribers in the fourth quarter, bringing its total to 20 million.
Shows drawing attention include Poker Face, featuring Natasha Lyonne as a cocktail waitress with the ability to tell if someone is lying. Upcoming programs include Mrs. Davis, a sci-fi thriller from Damon Lindelof, and Bupkis, from Saturday Night Live alum Pete Davidson.