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Comcast, late to the streaming party, to give details of NBC's Peacock service

NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Comcast Corp on Thursday will reveal details of Peacock, its belated entry into the streaming wars, as it harnesses its NBCUniversal library and invests in new content in an effort to capture viewers abandoning cable TV.

At a presentation to investors, held in New York’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Comcast is expected to provide pricing details for Peacock, which will carry ads and launch in April with 15,000 hours of content, including full series of NBC shows such as “Cheers,” “30 Rock” and “Parks and Recreation.”

The company may also discuss a plan to launch an international news service created by NBC News and the news division of Sky, which Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts mentioned on an April earnings call.

Peacock will be one of the last entries in the crowded streaming landscape, dominated by Netflix Inc and including Walt Disney Co’s Disney+, Apple Inc’s Apple TV+, Amazon.com Inc’s Amazon Prime Video, Hulu (controlled by Disney), and ViacomCBS Inc’s CBS All Access. In May, AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia will launch its new streaming service, HBO Max.

Unlike the majority of those services, which make money from subscription revenue, Comcast is selling ads against its content. Peacock, a nod to NBC’s logo, will be free for Comcast customers and be available to other customers for a tiered monthly fee - the details of which will be announced on Thursday.

Of the existing streaming services, only Hulu is ad-supported, although an ad-supported version of HBO Max is expected in 2021.

By including ads in Peacock, Comcast will be able to offer the service at a price Chief Financial Officer Mike Cavanagh described as “sensible.”

But even at a lower monthly fee, Peacock faces competition from $5 per month Apple TV Plus and Disney’s $7 per month service. The standard Netflix plan costs $13 per month.

Comcast is investing $2 billion in Peacock throughout 2020 and 2021, and will break even by year five, according to Cavanagh. Netflix, by contrast, earmarked $19 billion in cash for content in 2019.

Peacock will include original content such as “Dr. Death” featuring Alec Baldwin, shows licensed from other studios such as “Married With Children,” and complete seasons of shows from NBC’s library, including “Friday Night Lights,” “Frasier” and next year, “The Office.”

Reporting by Helen Coster in New York Editing by Peter Henderson and Matthew Lewis

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