July 28, 2022
NBCUniversal’s branded Peacock streaming service continues experience challenges including subscriber indifference. The SVOD/AVOD hybrid platform saw its subscriber base remain relatively flat at 13 million paid monthly members since launching on April 15, 2020.
Peacock launched about the same time as HBO Max, which was about six months after Disney+ and before Paramount+. Yet, the platform continues to struggle gaining paying subscribers unlike its competition.
Indeed, Disney+ added 10 million subs on its first day of operations and ended the last fiscal period with 138 million paid subs. HBO Max ended the first quarter (ended March 31) with 76.8 million subs, which includes the HBO pay-TV channel. And Paramount+ ended the quarter with 62 million subs when combined with Showtime OTT.
To say Peacock has subscriber problems is an understatement. The platform is largely offered free to Xfinity pay-TV subscribers who aren’t willing to pay for the platform on a standalone basis. Indeed, the platform ended the quarter with 27 million monthly average users. Yet, NBCUniversal continues to spend big on original programming for the streamer.
At the same time, costs related to developing and distributing Peacock continue to impact the bottom line. Comcast attributed much of its Q2 media pre-tax segment loss of $467 million to Peacock, which was up more than 28% from a pre-tax loss of $363 million in the previous-year period.
Despite the struggles, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts remains upbeat that the media giant’s strong-performing box office will help Peacock in the second half of the year.
“We expect our recent premieres and planned slate of content and live events from our media and studios businesses, including Jurassic World: Dominion, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Nope, “Sunday Night Football” and The World Cup, to make significant contributions later this year, including to our subscriber growth at Peacock,” Roberts said in a statement.
The CEO contends Peacock will be able to take advantage of its ownership stake in Hulu in the fall when next-day broadcasts on the Disney-owned service become exclusive to Peacock.
“We’ll be able to take full advantage of our pay-one window with a number of big movies and Premier League and World Cup [soccer],” Roberts said.