NBCUniversal hasn’t shared how many subscribers its Peacock streaming service added during the Tokyo Olympics — and we may not get the official figure for a while. But new data from research firm Sensor Tower offers a strong indicator the Olympics led to a record number of sign-ups for the fledgling service.
Let’s dive into the numbers a bit more. From July 23 to August 8 — the 17 days spanning the Tokyo games — Peacock was downloaded 1.7 million times, according to Sensor Tower. That represented a 21% jump from the previous 17-day period and a 31% jump compared to a 17-day period a month prior, spanning both June and July.
Those figures may not jump off the page, but overall, the Olympics helped drive Peacock’s best month of downloads ever. Peacock was downloaded 3 million times in July — which represented an 81% surge from the previous month and a 50% spike from the company’s previous record of 2 million downloads, which came in July 2020 as the app was just rolling out nationally.
Of course, it goes without saying someone downloading the app to check out a USA-Spain basketball game doesn’t necessarily translate to a customer willing to pay month after month. And there’s good reason to believe that many first-time Peacock users won’t stick around long; NBC and Peacock were lambasted by many online during the Tokyo Games, with new users complaining the service was hard to navigate and that the app still didn’t provide ample coverage of the events.
“Really don’t like Peacock. The interface is clunky and cumbersome,” one Reddit user complained last week.
Another user chimed in: “I also payed for a month of Peacock to watch Olympics and the app interface is so terrible!”
And this user, also on the same thread about Peacock, didn’t mince words, either: “If you want to build a premier streaming platform, you have to give the users what they want, and the Olympic coverage in general in the U.S. has just been nothing short of pathetic.”
(For more on how NBC and Peacock’s approach irritated viewers, you can click here.)
These obviously aren’t the type of reviews NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell wants to hear. Peacock is still trying to find its footing as it looks to establish itself among the other major streaming services. The service had 20 million active accounts at the end of June, which puts Peacock on pace to easily top Comcast’s initial projection of 35 million subscribers by the end of 2024.
At the same time, Peacock is still miles behind established platforms like Netflix (about 74 million subscribers in North America) and newer entrants like Disney+ (38 million domestic customers, per a recent report from The Information).
So while the Tokyo Games clearly gave viewers a reason to check out Peacock, an underwhelming app experience and a comparative dearth in exclusive and original streaming content post-Olympics may keep many of them from becoming longtime subscribers. That’s why when Comcast and NBCU report Q3 earnings in a few months, it’ll be worth seeing how many active accounts it added to the 20 million it had entering the Olympics.
Tim Baysinger contributed to this report.