How Does Peacock Benefit NBC TV Affiliates? Not So Much

Are NBC TV-affiliated stations pissed over the launch of Peacock?

If the new ad-supported focused streaming service is hitting too close to home -- that is, siphoning viewers and business away from its local TV advertising efforts -- the answer then is maybe.

This is at least what a report in Vulture is alluding to. It said a number of big NBC affiliates groups -- Gray Television, Hearst, Nexstar Media Group, Tegna, and Sinclair Broadcast Group -- decided not to run a “30 Rock”-themed half-reunion/half-business show on July 16. 

The show also looks to tout the Peacock launch, as well as NBCUniversal fall TV programming. Sources have confirmed to TV Watch some NBC pre-emptions among TV station groups have indeed occurred with the show.

The unusual effort from NBC’s national TV advertising unit combines a traditional (now virtual) upfront advertising business-based live event (postponed due to COVID-19) with consumer-interest of a popular show from NBC’s past.



For many years, TV networks have run summertime promo specials of upcoming fall programming, typically early in the evening before prime time and on weekends. They are like informercials for the TV networks and its TV station affiliates.

But the “30 Rock”/upfront show is airing in prime time at 8 p.m, a period where few if any pre-emptions typically occur. That the “30 Rock” special is also an “advertising-free” event, should tell you something: TV stations can’t make money off of it.

TV stations do pre-empt some fringe TV network programming from time to time -- especially when they can make more money with other content, local shows or syndicated content.

But one with a high-profile prime time cast attached -- airing essentially a new episode of the series -- has opened some eyes. Local TV stations can’t participate in this potential money-making event.

The flip side argument is the big streaming platform Peacock will help promote all things NBC -- including TV programming run on the NBC Television Network via NBC affiliated stations. All this to help TV stations combat growing digital competitors.

Here’s a hint says Vulture: Earlier this year, Peacock was considering a plan where it would run late-night Monday-to-Friday talk shows -- “Tonight” and “Late Show” -- earlier in the evening, thus hurting local TV stations' efforts to sell advertising in those shows,  essentially to be aired as reruns later that night.

And one other not-so-inconsequential fact: Peacock offers no ad-share arrangement, unlike what NBC has with its TV station affiliates.

So no advertising to sell in the special promo show, and no advertising to sell in Peacock?

Preening your feathers is always good. But you can understand why some want don’t want to rock the house for “30 Rock.”

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