Recently, WarnerMedia (including HBO Max) and Discovery (with its Discovery+ streaming service) announced their intentions to merge. The two would create a large streaming conglomerate covering box office hits, animation, reality TV, and more. Several analysts mentioned that CBSViacom’s Paramount+ and NBCUniversal’s Peacock services would be most affected by this. Neither has the clout to push it toward the top of the in-demand platforms like Disney+ or Netflix, but combining HBO Max with Discovery+ could challenge the streaming giants.
(Also, the name that for some reason they didn’t have ready at announcement time? Warner Bros. Discovery. They needed time to come up with that??)
So rival streaming services are at a crossroads: either they need to find ways to greatly boost their subscribers — which generally means they need to boost their content offerings — or settle for being more niche. Well, Peacock is not ready to go with the second option just yet. Earlier this year, they announced a deal with WWE to be the exclusive streaming home for the company’s wrestling programming, ending their own streaming service.
Peacock is rather different from most of the major providers’ offerings. Unlike most, it has three tiers. Peacock does offer some of its catalog to be viewed for free — albeit with ads. By paying $4.99 a month (or $49.99 a year), viewers will still see ads but will have access to all of Peacock’s shows. For $9.99 a month ($99.99 a year), the ads are removed. Certain Xfinity or Cox cable subscribers may get access to Peacock for free with their plan.
One of Peacock’s central offerings is The Office, and other highlights include Saturday Night Live, the Despicable Me movies, and Saved By the Bell.
Peacock has some Sentai Filmworks/HIDIVE series like Food Wars and Parasyte -the maxim-, but now Peacock’s anime lineup is getting a big boost: Peacock has partnered with streaming service RetroCrush. Several series are available in part now, and more will be added in the next few months. According to Anime News Network, this is the current list:
There’s also an option to watch a RetroCrush channel on Peacock, available 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, the on-screen guide doesn’t show what’s actually playing; everything is listed as a 12-hour RetroCrush blocks.
Of course, anime fans could go straight to RetroCrush right now and watch these series in full without having to wait for Peacock to update. So far, it’s not known how often they’ll add new episodes. And for shows like Fushigi Yugi, Peacock only has the English dubbed version available; RetroCrush has both the dub and sub available.
However, just as Funimation teamed up with Hulu and Crunchyroll series are available on HBO Max, this deal is meant to supplement RetroCrush, not replace it, and buff Peacock. People who have never or barely heard of the word “anime” may be inclined to give some of these shows a whirl, and more dedicated otaku may tune in to watch an episode or a two if they’re on there instead of exiting to another platform. The anime channel may also be a way to avoid the analysis paralysis that can happen with so much content available.
But RetroCrush appears to be doing well. After all, it launched only a little over a year ago, and it’s already significantly expanded its library, teamed up with Pluto TV, and now Peacock. Not too bad for a service catering to older titles when companies tend to be chasing after the-latest-and-the-greatest. And this lineup has a nice mix. Flame of Recca is shounen action, Fushigi Yugi is an isekai before the term “isekai” was coined, and yuri fans will enjoy Dear Brother. Combined with other titles like No Game No Life or K-On!, that’s a nice list to help get some new fans and to boost the popularity of some of these older series.
Still, Peacock will likely need more to gain a better foothold in the US market. The kids’ section, for instance, is a measly 16 titles — and that includes movies like Despicable Me and reality show Get Out of My Room. I’m not saying Peacock will or needs to specialize in children’s entertainment, but it they want to be a part of the so-called “Big 3” or “Big 4” streaming services, they surely need to be more well-rounded.
If nothing else, it’s neat to see yet another service see anime as a part of their push to go big. A lot of anime fans probably won’t need to sign up for Peacock anytime soon if they haven’t already, but more exposure is always a good thing.