The Peacock paywall

The Olympics are over for another year. Because of recent events, it seems like we have the Olympics pretty much every year now. Obviously that’s not true, but it does seem like it. The winter Olympics were held in Beijing this time around, and I had to look to see when they were last held there. Turns out that was back in 2008, even though I thought it was at most four years ago.

I’ve been critical over the years of the TV coverage of the games. Back in 2012, I complained that streaming wasn’t used to its full effect. Since then, there have been a lot of different ways that Comcast, the company that owns NBC, has tried to improve.

I could tell you but I’d have to charge you

Peacock, the streaming service from Comcast, rolled out in 2020 with the premise of being free for everyone who wants it. Very quickly, they put in a premium tier which offers you commercial-free access as well as access to the content you really actually want. I don’t blame them for this. Their purpose is, of course, to make money. The goal was originally to roll the service out for the 2020 Olympics, which unfortunately didn’t work out their way. But here we are in 2022 and they have a full selection of Olympic content. Literally anything you want is there. The issue is that you have to pay for it.

I think they’ve gone too far

Honestly Peacock isn’t a bad value. For about $5 a month you get a lot of content, and if you want to pay a bit more than that you can get it without commercials. I get that creating content costs money and that this is a business. But I think that Peacock went too far here. They paywalled all Olympic content, not just the stuff that wasn’t broadcast on the regular stations. For example, if you wanted to see the men’s figure skating programs, and you didn’t watch live or DVR, it was lost to you.

Compare this to what ABC does with their app and what CBS does with their Paramount Plus app. You can sign into these with your pay-TV subscriptions and get replays of the shows from the week. Peacock doesn’t do this. They also don’t put their content on Hulu or anywhere else. It’s, you pay or you can’t see it. Period.

I think that’s bad business. I think that it wouldn’t have hurt Comcast to give you access to the stuff that was on broadcast anyway. Load it up with commercials if you must, but it would have been a gesture of good will that might have actually gained you a subscriber or two.

Moral of the story

The moral of the story is that if you want to watch the 2024 Olympics, be prepared to pay for Peacock. Luckily it’s a month-to-month plan, but they’ve got you where they want you.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.