NBCUniversal’s Peacock Topped 33 Million Sign-Ups in 2020; Comcast Lost 1.3 Million Cable Subs

NBCUniversal’s hybrid Peacock SVOD/AVOD streaming platform topped 33 million sign-ups by the end of 2020 — about six months after launching nationwide on July 15. The platform, which includes an ad-supported free option; $4.99 monthly tier with ads (free to Comcast and Cox pay-TV subs); and $9.99 ad-free tier, had reached 26 million subs by Dec. 8. It is projected to reach 35 million subs by 2024, according to corporate parent Comcast.

Sign-ups versus SVOD subscriptions is key since Peacock is a hybrid business model where sign-ups to the AVOD option are required to attract advertisers, and can lead to paid subscriptions.

“We’re at the very beginning of this [streaming] business, but we’re very confident, based on the small amount of time that this is exactly the right business model,” Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, said on the Jan. 28 fiscal call. “People are signing up and advertisers are very interested in buying it.”

Separately, Comcast Cable continues to lose legacy pay-TV subscribers, jettisoning 1.29 million in 2020, compared with 671,000 subs in 2019. Comcast lost another 114,000 business subs as well, up from 61,000 subs lost in 2019.

Comcast ended the year with 19.8 million linear TV subs, down 1.4 million from 21.3 million in 2019.

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A silver lining on pay-TV losses, subscribers migrating to over-the-top video services need high-speed Internet service to get it. Comcast is the largest broadband provider in the country with more than 30 million subscribers at the end of 2020. That compared with 28.6 million broadband subs in 2019.

“We added 538,000 net new broadband customers [in Q4, ended Dec. 31, 2020],” Comcast chairman/CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “Outstanding performance at cable drove very strong fourth quarter results for our company.”

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