Commentary

Charter Offering 12 Free Months of Peacock Premium To Spectrum TV Subscribers

In another sign of pay-TV and streaming interests recognizing that cooperation is in their mutual best interest, Charter Communications is offering its subscribers free, limited-time access to NBCUniversal’s Peacock Premium streaming service.

Starting Dec. 13, Charter Spectrum TV subscribers and Spectrum Internet subscribers can get 12 months and 90 days of free access to Peacock Premium, respectively -- presumably helping both companies add and retain subscribers.

Peacock Premium ($4.99 per month) includes “limited” ads, and offers a more robust content menu than the free, ad-supported Peacock tier. Only Peacock Premium Plus ($9.99 per month) is ad-free.

The deal appears to be an extension of a Charter/NBCU deal for NBCU’s full portfolio that was announced in January 2021. At the time, the companies did not reveal the length of the Peacock Premium free trial.

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“As the video landscape rapidly changes, we are committed to innovating and finding ways to provide the most valuable content to our customers, wherever and whenever they want, and making Peacock Premium available to millions of Spectrum customers nationwide furthers this goal,” stated Tom Montemagno, executive vice president of programming acquisition for Charter.

All pay-TV companies have continued to see traditional subscriptions erode — and Charter, which has been aggressive about growing its video-only and broadband business, has also been notably open to deals involving streaming partners.

Charter was one of the first multichannel video programming distributors to offer broadband-only subscribers an online TV option (Spectrum TV Plus) that includes a Roku player.

The company ended the third quarter with 15.3 million Spectrum subs — down from 15.7 million in the previous-year period.

But it added 243,000 high-speed internet subs, to end the quarter with 27.9 million. Broadband subscription growth has been slowing in general, however: Charter gained 494,000 subscribers in the year-ago quarter, bringing its total at that time to 26.8 million.

Charter, which already offered Netflix access, added HBO Max and YouTube to its Spectrum TV guide earlier this year.

And Charter’s ViacomCBS carriage renewal deal, signed in July, includes Paramount+, Pluto TV, BET+ and Noggin, in addition to ViacomCBS TV networks.

At that time, Montemagno said that Charter’s comprehensive agreements with ViacomCBS “recognize the fast-changing pace of the subscription video business and provide us the flexibilities to adapt for the benefit of our customers while also furthering our strategic interests in the advanced advertising realm and aggregated video store concept with the addition of the streaming apps.”

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