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Peacock Paid Subscriber Totals Remain Flat at 13 Million in Q2

Aubrey Chorpenning

On Comcast’s second-quarter 2022 earnings call, NBCUniversal reported that its streaming service Peacock has maintained its previously reportedly 13 million paid Premium subscriber total. The company did not report its total active users, which includes both paid subscribers and customers who receive the service for free as part of their Comcast cable package. Following the first quarter of the year, when the service added 4 million paid subscribers, Peacock had a total of 28 million active users. That total was well ahead of the company’s internal goal of 30-35M by 2025.

Details about the streaming service were limited in Comcast’s report, but the company’s release noted that the most recent quarter came on the heels of “a very strong first quarter that was driven by a variety of extraordinary programming.”

On the financial front, Comcast reported that Peacock lost a total of $467 million, up over $100M from last year’s $363 million. On the cable side of the business, Comcast reported a loss of 1.7 million customers, but remained the largest cable provider in the country with 16.5M subscribers.

In Q2 2022, Peacock did fall short of its competitors, according to Hub’s 2022 Best Bundle study. The study notes that 67% of HBO Max subscribers are paying for an ad-free viewing experience. Meanwhile, just 20% of Peacock’s subscribers are willing to spend a few extra bucks to watch without ads. At this point, subscribers don’t seem to think Peacock is worth spending more money on for ad-free streaming.

Peacock is finding the positives of its customers choosing the ad-supported options, however. John Jelley, SVP of Product and UX at Peacock unveiled the company's plans for virtual product placements with a prototype called “Peacock In-Scene Ad” at this year’s Upfront presentations.

“The majority of Peacock customers are opting for our ad-supported experience,” Jelley said, “and we remain focused on collaborating with our brand partners to develop innovative, personalized ad experiences that continue to enhance the customer experience.”

Throughout the second quarter, the streaming service has been successful with its various updates to both content and features. In May, Bravo titles moved from Hulu to Peacock the day after their aired on cable. Now, Peacock subscribers have access to a wide selection of Bravo's titles, from the “Real Housewives” franchise to “Below Deck.”

The streaming service has unveiled a new interface, as well as menu options. One change is that it now offers a brief synopsis of a show or movie so users don’t have to click “More Info.”

A new “Catch Up” feature also allows viewers to watch Premier League key plays after a game has already begun.

While Peacock is a streaming service, Variety notes that it’s more than that. Comcast has a unique strategy to set its streaming service apart by focusing on its connected TV (CTV) strategy. Only time will tell whether this model is effective for the company.

As for Peacock’s future, its subscriber count is expected to take a hit eventually. NBCU CEO Jeff Shell recently noted that Xfinity customers will lose free access to Peacock Premium “at some point.” In 2023, the streaming service will debut three original films focusing on LeBron James, Chloe Bailey, and John Woo.

Peacock

Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that gives access to up to 70,000 hours of content including original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series. Peacock is home to “Yellowstone,” and “The Office,” as well as original hits like “Bel-Air.”

It will include news, entertainment, sports, late-night, and reality from various NBCU properties including NBC, Bravo, and E!.

Peacock also now includes the entire library of Bravo shows and has exclusives like “Below Deck: Down Under.”

The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like “Parks and Recreation,” and the entire Dick Wolf library including “Law & Order” and “Chicago Fire.”

You can also watch live sports including Sunday Night Football, Premier League, and exclusive MLB games. Peacock is also the exclusive home to many WWE events like WrestleMania.

The service will also feature blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.

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