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Peacock Reports 5M New Paid U.S. Subscribers in Q4; Growing to Over 20M Thanks to Sports, Films

David Satin

Comcast released its fourth-quarter 2022 earnings report on Thursday, Jan. 26 and NBCUniversal reported that its streaming service now has a total of 20 million paying subscribers, after adding 5 million in the fourth quarter, a rise of 122.22% year over year. That is more than double the 9 million paid users that the company claimed in Q4 of 2021.

The company says it was the best quarterly result since launch in 2020, which was likely driven by Peacock’s big Black Friday sale and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which the service carried in Spanish. Despite the gains, because of increased content costs, the streamer still lost $2.5 billion, which was in line with the company’s projections. However, Comcast has continued to say that 2023 will be the peak for losses at Peacock, and the streamer will begin working towards profitability in 2024.

In December, NBCU CEO Jeff Shell announced that Peacock had reached 18 million paid subscribers, doubling its total in the calendar year.

Peacock isn’t quite ready to compete with the biggest streamers, as its latest subscriber numbers show. Netflix, the world’s largest streaming service saw a global increase of 7.66M users in Q4, climbing to 230.75M overall. Netflix was the first streamer to announce its subscriber numbers from the most recent quarter, but in the fall Disney reported that its flagship streamer Disney+ had 164.2 million global subscribers, while its general entertainment streamer Hulu claimed an additional 47.2 million.

Warner Bros. Discovery does not report its two disparate streaming services’ subscriber numbers separately, but it most recently announced that it had 94.9 million users between HBO Max and discovery+. Last fall, Paramount Global reported that Paramount+ managed to climb to 46 million global users in Q3, seeing an increase of 4.7 million users in that quarter. Neither Prime Video nor Apple TV+ report their monthly user totals publicly.

The triple-digit percentage jump in subscribers that Peacock saw in 2022 is made even more impressive by the fact that the service is enjoyed for free by many Xfinity internet and cable subscribers, however, that very well might soon be changing. NBCU has already discontinued the free viewing period of Peacock Premium for Cox internet customers, and has confirmed that in the next year or two Xfinity users will no longer be getting free access to the service.

However, it’s not all bad news for Xfinity customers in 2023. Xfinity internet customers will get free access to a new premium streaming service or channel every week this year, thanks to the new “Free This Week” promotion from Comcast. Future participating networks and streaming services include HBO Max, SHOWTIME, REVOLT, HISTORY Vault, Lifetime Movie Club, and more.

Live sporting events could also help Peacock further boost its paid subscriber numbers. The service became the most-downloaded entertainment app in the Apple App Store during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, despite the fact that it only offered games in Spanish. This year, Peacock will serve as the exclusive streaming home of tennis’ French Open and the platform announced in late December that it would be carrying NBC Sports regional sports networks in select markets on its Premium Plus price tier.

There was rampant speculation that NBC was considering not programming any shows into its 10 p.m. ET primetime slot in 2022. Ultimately the network chose to extend primetime programming into the 2023-24 season, but it remains to be seen what will happen with that time block after this year. NBC did expand its reach at the end of 2022, when Peacock Premium Plus subscribers in all 210 major markets got access to their local NBC affiliate.

It became easier to stream Peacock content on the go in 2022, at least for JetBlue customers. In mid-December, NBCU struck a deal with JetBlue to become the airline’s official streaming partner. The deal brings Peacock shows and movies to seatback screens across the JetBlue fleet, and includes special offers and discounts for JetBlue customers.

Peacock

Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that includes original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series. Peacock is home to “Yellowstone,” and “The Office,” as well as original hits like “Poker Face” and “Bel-Air.” 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. Premium Plus subscribers can stream their local NBC feed in all 210 markets.

Peacock includes news, entertainment, sports, late-night, and reality from various NBCU properties including NBC, Bravo, and E!.

Peacock also includes the entire library of Bravo shows and has exclusives like “Below Deck: Down Under.” They also include live and on-demand access to Hallmark channels.

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.”

The service also features 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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