NBCUniversal and Roku Finally Strike Deal to Bring Peacock to the Platform

Key Insight:

A monthslong impasse between NBCUniversal and Roku has finally come to an end.

The two companies have struck a landmark deal to bring Peacock onto the OTT platform while keeping existing NBC TV Everywhere apps on Roku. An agreement was signed late Friday, but the details around when Peacock may become available on Roku devices—as well as appear in any accompanying Roku marketing campaigns and materials—are still in the process of being finalized.

The agreement ends a standoff that had prevented the largely ad-supported streamer from appearing on Roku’s devices, which boast 43 million active accounts, and comes hours after NBCU had threatened to pull its collection of TV Everywhere apps, including NBC’s flagship app and dozens of local and Telemundo stations, from Roku devices.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Comcast that will bring Peacock to Roku customers and maintains access to NBCU’s TV Everywhere apps,” a Roku spokesperson said in a statement. “We look forward to offering these new options to consumers under an expanded, mutually beneficial relationship between our companies that includes adding NBC content to The Roku Channel and a meaningful partnership around advertising.”

NBCUniversal and Roku’s distribution deal governing NBC TV Everywhere’s availability on the platform expired in August, and the companies had been in negotiations for several weeks. NBCUniversal brought Peacock, which has not been available on Roku’s network of devices since its July 15 national debut, into the discussion as part of the deal’s renewal, and discussions escalated on Friday as the temporarily extended deal reached its end date.

At the center of the disagreement was the percentage of ad inventory Roku and NBCUniversal would each be able to monetize on Peacock if Peacock were to go live on Roku devices. Roku’s standard off-the-shelf terms with ad-supported apps on its devices require that those apps make 30% of their ad inventory available to Roku to monetize. Sources said the companies had been unable to agree on how that ad inventory would be divvied up and monetized, and spokespeople for both companies had previously said the others’ demands in the ongoing discussions were “unreasonable.”

The now-resolved Roku and NBCUniversal feud is one of several that are beginning to define a new era of distribution and carriage disagreements in an increasingly streaming-heavy landscape made up of apps on streaming TV platforms. Peacock, which this week had 15 million signups, is still not available on Amazon Fire TV devices, locking out some viewers to the streamer.

WarnerMedia streamer HBO Max premiered in May without appearing on Roku or Amazon Fire TV, and nearly four months later, that service is still not available on either platform.


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