Peacock Adds 4 Million Paid Subscribers in Q1, Reaches 13 Million

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the service had 28 million active accounts in total

Courtesy of Peacock

Paid subscriptions were up for Peacock in Q1, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts announced on Thursday on the company’s first-quarter earnings call.

Peacock added 4 Million paid subscribers in Q1, for a total of 13 million. Roberts also noted the service had reached 28 million active accounts in total.

Last quarter, Peacock had 9 million paid subscribers and a total of 24.5 million active users.

The increase comes on the heels of Peacock airing a variety of big sporting events including the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl. Peacock also had the premiere of “Bel-Air,” the dramatic retelling of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” which Roberts said was the streamer’s most successful release to date.

Also helping the numbers was the day-and-date release of “Marry Me,” the romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson.

On Thursday’s call, Comcast/NBCUniversal also announced that Peacock revenue grew to $472 million in the quarter, however it technically had an operating loss of $456 million.

Peacock’s operating loss was a result of the higher programming and production costs associated with the Super Bowl and the Olympics, Comcast said, though it reported revenue for $472 million. In the prior year, it reported $91 million of revenue and an adjusted loss of $277 million.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell touted the strengths of Peacock on the call, explaining the programming areas the company is leveraging to keep consumers interested.

“So, our four big programming areas, we’ve said this before, are sports, movies — leveraging the strength of our movie studio, which is really strong — linear programming … leveraging our linear programming on a nonlinear basis, and then originals,” Shell told investors. “And so, the first quarter was really the first time we employed some of those. So we had the Super Bowl and Olympics in the same week … and we took advantage of that that audience by putting a movie — ‘Marry Me’ — on Valentine’s Day right in the middle of that so we had three segments.”

Shell also said that in addition to the 4 million paid subscriptions the company added in Q1, they “didn’t churn out those subs.”

“We maintained those subs, as you saw in the in the quarter end numbers,” he said. “And the second thing is we used all that audience to promote the first original that we really were high on which was ‘Bel-Air.’ And we had our first real hit from an original perspective.”

Finally, he addressed the impending end of NBCU’s deal with Hulu for next-day programming, which concludes this fall. When that happens shows will stream on Peacock the next day instead.

“So, the last piece of our programming strategy, which we really haven’t employed yet, is the next day programming from NBC, not just NBC, by the way, but Bravo and our cable networks as well. That programming, to your question, currently exists, but it’s on Hulu as part of our Hulu deal,” Shell said, addressing a investor’s query on the earnings call. “And as part of our termination at the end of last year, we’re bringing all that programming from Hulu back to Peacock starting in September. There’s no impact on [retransmissions] because it’s the same programming that’s already out there. But instead of going to Hulu and seeing ‘The Voice’ the next day or ‘Real Housewives’ the next day, now you’ll be able to see it exclusively on Peacock starting in September and we’re pretty excited about it.”