Classic TV Shows, Olympics Pique Consumer Interest in Peacock, Survey Shows (EXCLUSIVE)

New original programming may be a part of Peacock, the new streaming service launching this summer from NBCUniversal, but it is the more familiar elements that are generating the most consumer interest so far.

That’s what an exclusive poll fielded by YouGov for Variety suggests. The poll, which was conducted among 1,445 adults aged 18 and over between January 27 and 28, found that nearly half of adults (45%) had heard of Peacock. This suggests that the marketing campaign NBCU began during the Golden Globes and NFL playoffs in January has been effective in creating awareness.

Respondents who were aware of Peacock were asked to select up to three of the features, which were first announced during the Peacock Investor Meeting on January 16, that they were interested in. The most popular of these was access to classic NBCU TV shows, with almost half selecting it as an element of interest.

Among the classic shows available to consumers are broadcast favorites such as “Law & Order,” “Cheers,” “The Office” and “Two and a Half Men,” as well as more recent hits from NBCU’s cable channels like “Covert Affairs” and “Royal Pains.”

The classic shows have struck more of a chord with consumers than the original series coming to Peacock, which includes “Angelyne,” “The Capture” and “Code 404.” That may be a reflection of many of these shows being an unknown quantity, though some are based on known intellectual property including “Battlestar Galactica,” “Brave New World” and “Punky Brewster.”

Coverage of the Olympics was also popular, with 40% of individuals polled expressing interest. This figure could rise once the 2020 Games draw near and consumers become more aware that Peacock will be the exclusive home for some live coverage. 

Less of a draw was access to the smaller-scale sport competitions, the English Premier League and Ryder Cup, on Peacock. But the soccer league was more popular among marketer-friendly younger demos, with 21% of Millennials and 19% of Gen-Xers interested, versus 10% of Baby Boomers.

Consumer reaction to “exclusive TV channels” was strong, with a third of those aware interested. These channels represent what NBCU dubbed “virtual channels” in the investor meeting. They are a combination of live feeds streaming on Peacock such as Sky News, and linear channels that are programmed by NBCU that the viewer can join at any time. These channels will be based on either single IP, such as “SNL Vault,” or will feature a range of content from the NBCU library. 

One element that did not elicit broad interest was the ability to watch late-night shows earlier in the evening. This does not necessarily mean that the feature won’t be used by subscribers (it’s exclusive to Peacock Premium subs). Instead, this should be read as being more of a value-add feature and not a main driver of interest.

Whether this feature makes it to launch remains to be seen. It has been reported that the NBC Affiliate Board, representing the majority of NBC stations not owned by NBC, is asking NBCU to either remove this feature from Peacock or amend it, likely to prevent NBC’s late night shows from competing with viewers for their primetime schedule.

The results of the poll suggest that basing Peacock upon existing IP, and playing up the exclusive nature of new elements, will be key attractors for the service. With Peacock’s basic tier free, these features should help draw in an audience to try the service. That’s all NBCU can ask for as it works on upscaling free users to premium subscribers.

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