Parent company Comcast released NBCUniversal’s Q1 2022 earnings on Thursday, noting that its newest streaming service Peacock ended Q1 2022 with 28 million monthly active accounts, up from 24.5 million. of Comcast reported for the platform in late 2021. , 13 million are paying customers, up from 9 million in the previous quarter.
“We added 4 million paid subscribers to end the first quarter… We’ve seen a 25% increase in engagement hours year over year,” said Comcast CEO and President Brian Roberts. “Given the natural ebbs and flows of our content roster, we don’t anticipate seeing this type of growth each quarter.
“We expect more modest subscriber gains until we get to the second half of this year. Our fourth quarter should be fantastic, with sporting events like Sunday Night Football, the Premier League and the World Cup,” he added.
While Comcast executives don’t anticipate rapid growth, the last quarter of 2022 will be another substantial period for the streaming service, as the fledgling service will become the hub for 18 MLB games in May. Additionally, NBC shows will move from Hulu to Peacock, becoming the new exclusive streaming home this fall.
By comparison, Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter. It is highly remarkable that a veteran streaming platform should suffer such a loss when a younger competitor rises in popularity. Due to live sporting events, Peacock and other streamers catch the attention of sports fans. If Netflix continues to ignore this strategy, subscription numbers will likely continue to stall.
Last quarter, NBCU revealed that Peacock ended 2021 with 9 million paid subscribers. During Comcast’s Q4 earnings call last January, Roberts said that at that time, many of Peacock’s 24.5 million monthly active accounts were choosing to subscribe to the $5 ad-supported tier rather than the $5 ad-supported tier. no $10 ads.
Comcast research showed that 80% of consumers prefer an ad-supported service over paying a higher ad-free cost. Almost every major streaming service has explored the possibility of ad-supported subscription plans – the latest streamers are Netflix and Disney+. Since Peacock included this cheaper offering, it has seen more growth.
NBCUniversal’s EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) increased 7.4% to $1.6 billion. Despite this, Peacock’s losses were $456 million on revenues of $472 million. By comparison, there was a loss of $277 million a year ago on revenues of $91 million.
Peacock’s operating loss for the quarter was a result of higher programming and production costs associated with the Super Bowl and the Olympics, as well as the return of its prime-time programming, Comcast said. The Super Bowl and the Olympics generated huge revenue numbers, bringing in $519 million and $963 million, respectively.
“Our media business is performing well, and the scale of our reach is underscored by our successful broadcast of the Super Bowl and the Olympics in the same week. These events were seen by over 200 million people in the US on NBCUniversal platforms, including Peacock,” said Roberts.
During Thursday’s Q1 investor call, Michael Cavanagh, Comcast’s chief financial officer, commented, “We continue to expect Peacock’s EBITA loss to be approximately $2.5 billion for the year. However, taking into account the timing of content releases, we expect losses to be higher in the second half of the year.”
In other news, cable giants Comcast and Charter announced yesterday that they would team up to build a streaming platform. The Charter venture “demonstrates the benefits of our focus on innovation and allows us to bring entertainment aggregation and streaming products that run on our global technology platform to millions of customers,” said Roberts.