- Peacock is no longer offering its free plan for new subscribers.
- New members will have to pay for either the $4.99 ad-supported tier or the $9.99 ad-free option.
- Peacock is lagging behind competitors in paid members.
If you were thinking of signing up for NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock, but didn’t want to pay for it, you’re out of luck.
As of Tuesday, Peacock has turned off its free tier for new users — meaning if you weren’t already subscribed to Peacock, you’ll now have to sign up for a paid membership.
The free plan included ads and limited content compared to the paid tiers.
The paid tiers include Peacock Premium — which costs $4.99 per month, and includes ads and all of Peacock’s content — and the ad-free Peacock Premium Plus, which costs $9.99 per month.
A Peacock spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider. An NBCU spokesperson told Variety that the change was part of the company’s growth strategy for Peacock, but that existing users of the free plan will continue to have access to it for now.
Peacock has had a slow start since launching in 2020. By Q1 2021, the service had just 9 million paid subscribers. As of the end of 2022, it had 20 million, NBCU’s parent company Comcast said this week.
That’s still a far cry from other new streamers like Disney+, which had 164 million subscribers as of November 2022, and even Paramount+, which had 46 million that same month.
And, like most streaming services, it’s losing money — $2.5 billion in 2022, Comcast said during its earnings report this week. The company said it expects the service’s losses to peak this year.
The bright spot for Peacock coming into 2023 is new content.
“Tár,” which is nominated for a best picture Oscar, is now streaming on the service. It landed a deal in October to stream live and on-demand programming from Hallmark Channel. And, later this year, the “John Wick” spinoff series “The Continental” will premiere on the service, which will also stream all three of the “John Wick” movies.
Most recently, critics have praised its new mystery-of-the-week series “Poker Face,” from “Knives Out” director Rian Johnson. It has a 98% Rotten Tomatoes critic score.
The Verge called it “Peacock’s first truly great original series.”
It’s still to be seen if it’s great enough for people to pay for it.