NBC launching local news streams on Peacock in six markets

NBC is launching local channels on its Peacock streaming platform.

Starting Jan. 20, 2022, Peacock users will have access to four free feeds of regional news, weather, sports and lifestyle programming from stations in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Miami.

WMAQ is powering NBC Chicago News, while WCAU will provide content for NBC Philadelphia News. Meanwhile, WBTS and New England Cable News will back NBC Boston News and WTVJ is launching NBC South Florida News.

WNBC in New York and KNBC in Los Angeles are expected to launch their own channels in the “months ahead.” 

NBC would not comment on whether there are plans for similar channels in other markets where it owns stations, including San Francisco; Dallas–Fort Worth; San Diego; Washington, D.C.; Hartford or San Juan. 

The channels are available on Peacock’s ad-supported free tier, which already includes NBC News Now, the network’s 24/7 streaming news feed that focuses on national and international news and “Today All Day,” a channel that combines archival and original content from the network’s “Today” show. Other offerings include Sky News, Dateline 24/7, NBC LX, Telemundo Al Día and The Choice from MSNBC.

Viewers from any market can view any channel without any geolocation limits, an NBC spokesperson confirmed. 

Initially, NBC plans to carry simulcasts of its local newscasts along with encore presentations of the more recent ones. Breaking news coverage will be carried live as needed alongside other programming from the stations. 

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NBC owned stations have already begun venturing into creating digital exclusive content and it’s likely that will expand in the coming years and months to feed both these new regional networks and other platforms. 

The model appears to closely match CBSN’s strategy of launching local versions of its national news stream in markets where it owns a station. CBSN will be rebranded later this year under the CBS News name, with each of its regional offerings expected to follow suit.

Unlike CBSN, however, NBC’s new streaming offerings can’t be streamed directly on the station’s website. CBS prominently features its streaming services in a prominent video player on its owned station sites as well as CBSNews.com.

Instead, NBC will require users to go through Peacock, the streaming service its parent company Comcast created as a central hub of content from across its corporate family.

The service is one of a handful of streamers to offer a free, ad-supported tier—albeit with a limited content library.

NBC already brands its stations using the “NBC (City or Region Name)” schema online, so the local streaming channels’ branding ties into that. On traditional broadcast TV, however, NBC stations still use their channel numbers as part of their branding.

For the new channels, the network created logos by simply combining the network’s peacock logo with the city or regional name spelled out in its proprietary Arthouse Owned font. The custom font is based on FF Din.

This font is used on air for most lower third insert graphics and other textual elements, though the stations themselves still use a different typeface for their on air logos.

The streaming channels notably do not utilize the word “Now” in their names, a move that would have matched them with NBC News’ national streaming channel.

However, as indicated by CBS’s decision to rebrand its regional CBSN channels under “CBS News (City Name),” there also appears to be a trend in streamlining branding. This is likely in order to avoid cluttering viewers’ minds with “yet another streaming service.”

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