Comcast-owned streaming service Peacock had its best quarterly result since its 2020 launch, adding five million paying subscribers in its fourth quarter of 2022 to bring the total to 20 million, up from the over 15 million subs in the previous quarter. In Q1 2021, Peacock had 9 million paid users.
Peacock gets much of its success from its sports programming. The boost in paid subscribers was primarily due to the FIFA World Cup, which streamed in Spanish on Peacock Premium and Telemundo. The streamer also now has exclusive next-day rights to NBC and Bravo shows.
“Looking ahead and based on our experience to date, we expect our subscriber cadence will follow or content launches, which will fall more heavily in the second half of ‘23, and we continue to see positive trends in engagement churn and ARPU,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said during today’s earnings call.
In 2023, Peacock Premium subscribers will get to watch the French Open tournament. The company is also in talks with partners to make NBC Regional Sports Networks available on the platform next year.
Last month, NBC Universal partnered with JetBlue to become the airline’s official streaming partner, giving customers access to Peacock shows and movies.
Although Peacock nearly tripled in revenue to $2.1 billion, its loss widened again compared with the previous year. The company noted an adjusted EBITDA loss of $978 million, compared with a loss of $559 million in Q4 2021. Comcast also reported $541 million in severance costs, including $182 million related to NBCUniversal.
And while Peacock had its most impressive quarter to date, it’s still lacking when compared to its streaming competitors, like Netflix with over 230 million subscribers, and Disney+ with 164.2 million subs. Paramount+ grew to 46 million users in its third quarter.
During the earnings call, the company reassured investors that its streaming strategy is just fine the way it is. “We like what we’re doing. We had a phenomenal year getting to 20 million paid subs from less than a year ago, and we see this coming year as the peak year,” said CFO Mike Cavanagh.
“We made a decision to invest in Peacock. It’s very clear that we picked the right business model at this point given where we are,” added Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCU. “We’ve been clear from the start that we’re going to see a return on that investment.”