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Peacock Struggling to Keep Up, Losing Millions in Revenue

Lauren Forristal

While Peacock is on its way to reaching its goal of 35 million users by 2024, it is nowhere near NBCU’s break-even prediction of $7-8 average monthly revenue per active user. In reality, Peacock is losing more than $8 monthly on each user.

Comcast recently announced that Peacock had lost over $520 million with a revenue of $230 million for Q3. No one needs to be proficient at math to realize that this is a huge and devastating loss.

The obvious solution? According to LightShed Partners' Richard Greenfield, Peacock needs to increase content (especially exclusive and/or original content), release more day-and-date movies, and consider higher investment spending.

Greenfield believes that the current ARPU run rate is because 84% of Peacock Premium subscribers are getting the service for free through Comcast/Cox, and approximately one-third of MAAs are free Peacock users, which means that over 85% of Peacock MAAs don’t pay a fee. The customer engagement isn’t up to par either, which is hurting its ad revenue.

Because most subscribers choose that free tier, people are missing out on Peacock’s premium content. That’s why Peacock is bleeding money, and the churn rate is the highest in the industry. Greenfield writes, “Peacock needs far more content than it is currently offering.”

While Netflix has over 2,400 original titles, Peacock only has a couple hundred. Granted, Netflix has been around way longer but it’s vital that Peacock catches up, especially if they want to compete with HBO Max or Hulu.

This year’s day-and-date movie releases, “Halloween Kills” and “Boss Baby” drove a lot of subs, but as long as they continue with a solely ad-supported service rather than a hybrid advertising/subscription, their success will continue to wane.

Just as AT&T and WarnerMedia are adding exclusive features to the HBO Max platform, NBCUniversal is planning to shift its movie releases onto Peacock, leaving its old partner (HBO Max) in the dust. The releases will be on the platform for four months before moving on to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. This may seem risky, but Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh remains positive about Peacock’s future, “Innovation around ‘windowing’ is sort of going to be part of what makes us successful over time, we believe.”

Plus, if Universal aired shows for the first time on Peacock instead of on a broadcast or cable network, new subscribers would be more likely to adopt the platform. As we all know, linear TV is second to streaming, and it’s about time media companies come to terms with it.

This future revamp of the platform has a lot of potential. We don’t know if it will meet its goal of being a “top four must-have SVOD streaming service.” However, customers will be pleased to know that they are taking criticisms seriously and will be designing a less complicated interface as well as redeeming their last Olympics disaster as they plan for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Fortunately, they have already seen their sub count grow as viewers sign up to watch the Tokyo Games.

How will Peacock pivot? Stay tuned…

Peacock

Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that gives access to up to 15,000 hours of content including original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series.

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

Just like other streaming services, Peacock will have their own original series including reboots of Save By The Bell, Punky Brewster, and Battlestar Galactica. They also have shows like Rutherford Falls (Ed Helms), Dr. Death (Alec Baldwin), and a behind-the-scenes docs-series about Saturday Night Live.

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

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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