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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell Says Early Reports on Peacock Are ‘Very Encouraging’

Fern Siegel

Peacock, NBCU’s streaming network, officially launches nationally on July 15. But it had an early debut two weeks ago on Comcast’s Xfinity TV and broadband platforms. CEO Jeff Shell called the results “very, very encouraging, particularly the amount of time that each person has spent coming on the platform.”

That’s despite the service going live without launching “a lot of our originals because of COVID,” Shell added.

Shell delivered his remarks on Comcast’s earnings call today, noting the company wanted to get the tech right and learn how people used the streamer before a national rollout.

He also confronted the “Trolls World Tour” controversy and AMC Theatres’ response. Noting the $100 million streaming success of “Trolls World Tour” to date, he said the company would release movies in theaters and stream them in future.

“There’s no question that theatrical is someday again going to be the central element to our business and the film business that’s helped people make their movies and how they expect their movies to be seen,” Shell said. “But the flip side is the majority of movies, whether we like it or not, are being consumed at home, and it’s not realistic to assume that we’re not going to change.”

Comcast is also coping with the unspoken possibility of layoffs, given the precipitous drop in advertising and loss of the Tokyo Olympics.

One of Peacock’s rivals, HBO Max, launches May 27. According to, both services are ramping up their marketing efforts. HBO Max has registered 884 airings of its creative, mostly on sister networks TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN and Adult Swim, pulling 328.6 million impressions. Peacock, with a somewhat longer lead time, posted 171.6 million impressions.

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