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Comcast sees good financial quarter, though Peacock lags

The logo of Comcast Corporation.
The logo of Comcast Corporation. (Image courtesy Comcast Corporation, Graphich by The Desk)

Comcast Corporation beat Wall Street estimates on Thursday when it announced $30 billion in total revenue during its most recent financial quarter.

The company’s general entertainment and news division NBC Universal spurred some of that revenue with $9.4 billion earned in the three months ending June 30, Comcast reported on Thursday.

Net additions at Comcast’s streaming service Peacock were flat, with Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts telling investors on a conference call that Peacock had 27 million monthly active accounts, down from 28 million accounts reported in April. Of those, around 13 million customers are paying between $5 a month and $10 a month to access a premium tier of Peacock.

Peacock saw a dramatic rise in customers using the service during its previous financial quarter after Comcast chose to stream both the Super Bowl and the Beijing Olympics through the service. Both events were simultaneously carried on NBC, with the Olympics also offered on some of Comcast’s owned-and-operated cable networks.

On Thursday, Comcast executives said additions to Peacock were “relatively flat” compared to its previous quarter, when it had “a very strong…variety of extraordinary programming.”

The $5 a month premium tier of Peacock is subsidized by short advertisement interruptions during TV shows and movies, with most movies streaming just one ad prior to the start of the film. A free version of Peacock offers ad-supported linear channels and a small handful of curated content.

“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,” Jeffrey Shell, the chief executive of Comcast’s NBC Universal division, said on a conference call with investors on Thursday.

Shell said he felt others in the space were moving toward that same business model that it adopted for Peacock. Indeed, since those comments were made, executives at Netflix and Disney have affirmed ad-supported streaming plans were coming to their flagship services at some point in the near future.

“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,” Shell said. “If anything, our scale gives us an increasing advantage.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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