Peacock announces first-ever price hike amid billions in losses

Cameron Frew
The Peacock logo and John Travolta Pulp Fiction wallet meme

Peacock has been forced to enact its first-ever price hike, coming amid eye-watering losses at NBCUniversal and the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

In the early aughts, watching movies and TV shows was arguably simpler. If you wanted to see a new film, you’d go to the cinema. If you missed it, you could rent it in Blockbuster. If you loved it, you could buy the VHS, DVD, or eventually, the Blu-ray (RIP HD-DVD).

Streaming wasn’t a novel concept; illegal services like Napster and Limewire paved the way for the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, and YouTube proved the world’s demand for online video viewing, essentially giving Netflix the boost it needed to launch into a full-blown platform.

Now, there’s simply too much: Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, Max, Paramount+, and more. Unsurprisingly, despite rising subscriptions, Peacock is asking for more money.

Peacock is rising its prices for the first time

Peacock Premium is set to rise from $4.99 to $5.99 per month, while Peacock Premium Plus will increase from $9.99 to $11.00. The price hike will come into force from August 17.

There’s opposing sides to the move. As of the end of Q1 2023, Peacock has a total of 22 million subscribers, marking a 600% year-on-year increase, according to Comcast (as per Variety). It has also added more than 80,000 hours of content since its launch in 2020, including exclusive pay-1 window movies from Universal – for example, Five Nights at Freddy’s will have a day-and-date premiere on the platform this year.

So, it seems successful, right? Well, maybe it would be if it wasn’t for NBCUniversal. Despite efforts to make the platform profitable, the company is expected to experience losses of $3 billion this year.

Peacock isn’t the first streamer to increase its monthly subscription: Paramount+ upped its prices in February, and Max updated its tiers with its branding relaunch.

This also comes as the actors and writers’ guilds campaign for fairer pay in the streaming era – you can read more about why creatives are campaigning on the picket lines here.

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