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Peacock Paid Subscribers in the U.S. Surpassed 15 Million, As Comcast’s Cord-Cutting Losses Accelerate

David Satin

Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal and its streaming platform Peacock, released its third-quarter earnings report on Wednesday. The company announced an increase of 2 million paid customers to bring their global total to over 15 million. The streamer’s total customers increased by nearly 70% year to date. This follows CEO Jeff Shell announcing earlier this month that the company had reached 15M customers during Q3.

On the traditional TV side of the Comcast business, cable customers decreased by 1.97 million to come in at 16.58M a 10.5% decline year-over-year. However, the company’s broadband product saw a 489,000 increase compared to last year to come land on 32.18 million customers. Accounting for customers with multiple Comcast products, the company reported having 34.36M unique residential and business customers at the end of Q3.

Peacock saw no subscriber growth between Q1 and Q2 of 2022, so the numbers are certainly good news for Comcast. Its 2 million new paid subscribers almost matched Netflix’s Q3 customer jump of 2.4 million, although Peacock is nowhere close to the 223 million global subscribers Netflix can boast.

Peacock also lags behind several other streaming platforms in terms of total numbers. In Q2 of 2022, Disney+ reported having 152.1M subscribers and Hulu had 46.2M across its on-demand and live TV platforms. Following the second quarter, Paramount+ reported having 43M global subscribers thanks to an increase of 5.2M (before the removal of the platform in Russia). Neither Prime Video nor Apple TV+ report subscriber totals.

Peacock is at something of a disadvantage compared to those other services, however. Peacock’s paid subscriber numbers do not account for the millions of Xfinity internet users who get free access to Peacock Premium. NBCU has done much in the last few months to try to raise Peacock’s profile. Those measures include moving next-day streaming of shows from NBC, Bravo, and other NBCU channels from Hulu to Peacock.

Comcast currently owns 33% of Hulu, but that is likely to change in the coming years. Disney has the contractual ability to purchase Comcast’s third of the streamer beginning in 2024, and the company’s CEO Bob Chapek has publicly stated that his company would like to gain full control before that date. Conversely, Comcast has repeatedly said that if given the choice, it would like to purchase Hulu outright.

However, many in the industry see these public comments simply as tactics designed to manipulate the streamer’s valuation in order to get the best deal possible. There have also been rumors thatComcast is interested in purchasing Warner Bros. Discovery, once the Hulu deal is finalized.

Aside from Hulu negotiations, there has been much discussion in the industry of late regarding NBCU’s decision to potentially eliminate an hour of primetime programming. The discussions have come amidst news that NBCU has been seeking $1 billion in budget cuts, but is also increasing its content spend on Peacock.

One area that Comcast is looking to capitalize on with Peacock is in sports media rights. The streamer has been doing its best to bolster its live sports offerings in the last year, which NBCU knows will bring more eyes to the service. It added exclusive Big Ten football games beginning in 2023 and also features “Sunday Night Football,” Premier League soccer, Notre Dame Football, golf, horse racing, MLB Sunday Leadoff, INDYCAR, WWE wrestling and much more. Recently the streamer laid out its plans to stream World Cup soccer matches in Spanish.

NBCU has also been taking cues from its customers regarding how to proceed with content. Peacock has been surveying its users regarding what they like most about the platform in the hopes of generating more original shows and movies in the future.

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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