NBC Universal outlines the current state of its Peacock streaming service and discusses future plans.
Comcast's latest Q4 earnings report outlines strong revenues and a confident roadmap for its content services, including Peacock. NBC Universal's streaming service Peacock currently has 9 million paid subscribers since launching in 2020, which extremely low compared to Netflix (221.8 million) and Disney+ (118 million).
Peacock isn't playing by Netflix's or Disney's rules, though. The service has three options: A free tier with ads, a $4.99 paid tier with reduced ads, and a premium $9.99 tier with no ads. Peacock Premium offers exclusive access to megahit shows like The Office whereas the free tier is limited. Comcast believes strongly in this premium-free combo.
Comcast is also continuing to spend big on Peacock, shelling out a $1.2 billion content budget in 2021. Spending will double to over $3 billion in 2022. Peacock isn't yet profitable and lost $1.7 billion last year, most of which was from the huge spending allowance.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts discusses Peacock in the Q4 earnings call:
"When we introduced Peacock to you back in early 2020, our vision was to launch a streaming service that offers premium content and is supported primarily by advertising. What we've learned so far is that we started with the right business model. With over 300 million hours of content consumed on Peacock per month, the engagement with our platform has proven extremely valuable to advertisers.
"We have another 7 million highly engaged bundled subscribers from Xfinity and other top distributors who use Peacock every single month and currently receive Peacock Premium at no extra cost. We expect strong conversion of this group to paid subscribers over time."
Comcast chief financial officer Michael Cavanaugh says Peacock has made $800 million in 2021 and discusses plans for 2022 and beyond:
"In 2021, Peacock generated revenue of nearly $800 million and an EBITDA loss of $1.7 billion, which includes content spend of over $1.5 billion. Even with a relatively limited programming slate we've achieved a level of success in MAAs, paid subs and engagement that is driving our decision to double our content spend on Peacock in 2022 to over $3 billion with the goal of ramping domestic content spend to $5 billion over the next couple of years, some of which will be incremental and some of which will be a reallocation from linear programming."
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