NBC Streaming Service Peacock Blasted for Its 2020 Tokyo Olympics Coverage

by Jennifer Shea

NBCUniversal’s Peacock is facing some pretty irate customers after many of the latter signed up for the streaming service to watch the Tokyo Olympics.

Not only did customers have trouble watching live streams of their favorite events, but there were glitches with the service, such as blank screens in place of commercials for customers who paid for an ad-free experience.

And over the weekend, many of those customers took to Reddit, where they vented their frustrations in agonizing detail.

Service Tough to Navigate, Peacock Customers Gripe

“I signed up for Peacock premium for the Olympics and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to watch live,” one Reddit user complained. “What is going on? For all the time I spent trying to figure out how to watch after paying, I could have found pirated streams hours ago… I don’t care about replays or the athlete tear-jerking featurettes. I just want to watch live events. WTF is going on ?”

According to the New York Post, Peacock decided to live stream only certain events, such as gymnastics, track and field and men’s basketball. Those who missed the live streams were forced to wait several days for the replays.

“Nothing is on demand, i have to wait for replays at a scheduled time?!” another user agreed. “Cant even view past events or finals, and only shows sports for team USA. This is completely useless. Baited me into a subscription only for it to do absolutely nothing!”

Other users griped that the app crashed repeatedly when they tried to watch the Olympics, and that the extra $9.99 for an ad-free experience resulted in blank screens during the commercial breaks instead of uninterrupted viewing.

Customers Struggle to Cancel Service

To make matters worse, Reddit users pointed out, there was no easy way to cancel and remove one’s credit card information from the Peacock platform without help.

“They advertised all over the Olympics to make it appears as though they would be streaming,” one Reddit user posted. “Once you pay, you realize they do not actually stream. You can not easily refund your money, you have to chat with a representative to do this.”

“This is just gonna make them lose more subscribers than they gained, and fast…,” another user predicted.

Meanwhile, the ratings for the opening ceremony were abysmal. They dropped to 17 million, a 33-year nadir. That’s not good news for NBC, which had promoted Peacock as a destination for exhaustive Olympics coverage. The service was even supposed to launch in tandem with the Tokyo Games. The Games were slated for summer of 2020, only to be delayed a year due to the pandemic.

Whether or not the Olympics fiasco will dent Peacock, which has built up an impressive stable of entertainment offerings, remains to be seen. But it’s got plenty of incentive to tweak its service in light of the feedback it’s getting from new customers.