Does Peacock Need Roku And Amazon Fire? The Rub Is Ad Inventory, Data Sharing

Roku and Amazon Fire TV understand crucial deal points when it comes to the carriage of premium streamers on their digital media players/smart TV on-screen software.

How much are platforms willing to give up in advertising inventory? What about sharing data?

This is the rub when it comes to talks Roku and Amazon Fire TV are having with NBCUniversal’s forthcoming Peacock, which debuts July 15. At press time, NBC isn’t ready to give up ground.

And so with just days before the launch of Peacock, the streamer won’t get distribution on the two biggest set-top box/smart TV interface, Amazon and Roku, which each have around 40 million active monthly users.

That is a big hurdle for NBCU going forward.

TV advertising -- even given the pandemic -- is still a platform where pay TV providers can make big and rapid revenue gains.



For its part, Roku has put future growth in all ad inventory it controls -- a consequence of many free apps it carries. Projections are Roku could see $600 million in ad revenues in 2020.

Roku and Amazon make deals with apps that include those platforms giving up as much as 30% of TV advertising inventory per hour, according to media executives. NBCU is looking at 15% ad inventory share, according to reports.

At the same time, both Roku and Amazon also want census-level, server-user data from streamers -- to bolster their efforts around advertising.  And, in Amazon's case, also to gain deeper insights into selling consumers other products on its ecommerce platform.

The reason NBCU is so steadfast on this issue is because of advertising. Initially, Peacock is focused -- market-wise -- on its ad-supported, free-to-consumer option to differentiate itself from Disney+, Apple TV+  and most recently HBO Max -- all of which have a consumer subscription fee and no advertising. (NBCU also has two subscription fee options, as well.)

This isn’t to say those services aren’t interested in advertising options -- HBO Max, for one, is looking to come up with an ad-supported option next year.

Given the relatively low subscription price tag on many of these services — Disney+ at $6.99/month; Apple TV+ at $4.99/month -- initial big revenues will come from how much these platforms can scale around fees.

Later, ad dollars will loom large as a business potential -- something these traditional media companies know well.

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