Peacock ended the second quarter of the year with a “relatively flat” 13 million paid subscribers and fell to 27 million monthly active accounts, Comcast revealed along with its Q1 earnings results Thursday. The streamer also lost $467 million during that three month stretch between April 1 and June 30, and its parent company advises Peacock will likely continue to post a loss throughout the rest of the fiscal year.
The NBCU streamer’s Q2 paying customer total is the same as the 13 million that Comcast reported in Q1 for Peacock, which has both free, ad-supported and paid, ad-free tiers. But at that time, it was a case of growth, as Peacock was up from the nine million paid subscribers it had at the conclusion of 2021.
When Comcast chairman-CEO Brian Roberts revealed that new paid sub total back on April 28, also announcing Peacock had reached 28 million monthly active accounts (up from 24.5 million at the end of December), he warned that the company did not anticipate this level of growth quarter-to-quarter for Peacock to become the norm. That’s because the four million paid subscriber additions it boasted in Q1 were largely attributed to Peacock streaming both Super Bowl LVI and the Beijing Winter Olympics during the quarter.
Comcast stuck with that foregone conclusion in its Q2 earnings letter to shareholders Thursday, writing that the “relatively flat” 13 million paying Peacock subs come “following a very strong first quarter that was driven by a variety of extraordinary programming.” During the subsequent earnings call, Roberts confirmed that monthly active accounts were down by 1 million at 27 million MAAs.
“We had the benefit of studying the market before we came in and we think we picked the right business strategy, which is kind of an extension of our existing business, not a new business, but based on a dual revenue stream of subscription and advertising,” NBCU CEO Jeff Shell said during Comcast’s earnings call later Thursday. “And I think everybody kind of moving in that direction is a validation of that business model. As far as advertising in general, our business, linear and Peacock… we’re one of the largest advertisers out there with over $10 billion in advertising. So people coming in at the levels they are coming in, we don’t expect it to have any material impact on what we sell and how we do it. If anything, our scale gives us an increasing advantage.”
Shell noted that NBCU is “kind of uniquely positioned” with Peacock “to take advantage of whatever a candidate wants to advertise and aware” during the upcoming midterm election season. “So we expect some pretty strong results from Peacock in the coming fall, in addition to the advertising across the whole company.”
Peacock certainly boasted a less event-fueled lineup in Q2 after having the Super Bowl and Olympics in Q1, though it did debut originals including the “Queer as Folk” reboot, the Emmy Rossum-led limited series “Angelyne,” the new Craig Robinson-Dan Goor comedy “Killing It” and the second season of “Rutherford Falls.”
Roberts said in a statement in the letter: “At NBCUniversal, terrific results at theme parks fueled our growth in the quarter, and we expect our recent premieres and planned slate of content and live events from our media and studios businesses, including ‘Jurassic World: Dominion,’ ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru,’ ‘Nope,’ ‘Sunday Night Football’ and the World Cup to make significant contributions later this year, including to our subscriber growth at Peacock.”
In May, Peacock took over the next-day streaming rights to currently airing programming on Bravo, a fellow Comcast brand, from Hulu. The Peacock team is eagerly anticipating the streamer nabbing the rights to NBC’s next-day streaming from Hulu in September, as well, in hopes that will also spur sub growth.
(Pictured: “Queer as Folk.”)