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Comcast adds 3 million Peacock subscribers, loses broadband customers

Gains in wireless and streaming nearly offsets losses in core cable TV and land-based Internet service.

Gains in wireless and streaming nearly offsets losses in core cable TV and land-based Internet service.

An app tile for Comcast's streaming service Peacock appears on a streaming television device. (Courtesy photo)
An app tile for Comcast’s streaming service Peacock appears on a streaming television device. (Courtesy photo)

Comcast said its core broadband and television businesses lost customers during the fourth quarter of the year, only partially offset by more adoption of its wireless and streaming television products.

On Thursday, Comcast said it Xfinity TV service lost 389,000 subscribers during Q4 2023, with the company seeing around 14.1 million customers paying for Xfinity TV by the end of the year, down from 16.142 million TV accounts in Q4 2022.

On the broadband side, Comcast lost 31,000 residential Xfinity Internet customers and another 3,000 Xfinity Internet business customers during Q4 2023, ending the year with just north of 32.25 million total broadband Internet accounts.

Total customer relationships shrank by 183,000 accounts to around 52.1 million subscribers, which includes customers of Comcast-owned Sky television in parts of Europe and subscribers of the streaming service Now TV.

At the same time, Comcast saw gains in its direct-to-consumer streaming television service Peacock, which added 3 million accounts during Q4 2023, bringing the total number of subscribers to just over 31 million. That figure did not include the number of customers who purchased Peacock earlier this month in order to access a key National Football League playoff game, which was exclusive to the service.

Revenue attributed to Peacock grew 57 percent on a year-over basis, topping $1 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time, Comcast said. Comcast’s overall video revenue clocked in at just under $7 billion during Q4 2023, a figure that includes sales of Xfinity TV, Now TV and Sky TV.

“We capped off 2023 and the fourth quarter with excellent operational and financial performance,” Brian Roberts, Comcast’s Chairman and CEO, said in a statement, adding that the company “maintain Peacock’s position as the fastest-growing streamer in the U.S.”

“2024 is already off to a great start – I couldn’t be more proud of how our company came together to deliver a record-breaking NFL Wild Card game on Peacock and the nation’s biggest night on the Internet ever,” Roberts said.

That particular game drew more than 28 million viewers to Peacock, the NFL’s mobile service NFL Plus and two NBC broadcast stations in Kansas City and Miami. Earlier this month, Comcast said Peacock saw more than 16 million concurrent device streams during the game, making it the most-streamed event in U.S. history.

Analytics firm Antenna said around 2.8 million people purchased a new subscription to Peacock in order to watch the game, with the information based on opt-in financial data like bank account and credit card statements. Comcast has not publicly commented on the figure released by Antenna; if true, the number of Peacock subscribers is likely higher than the 31 million revealed by the company on Thursday.

Comcast also saw more uptake in its Xfinity Wireless product, which resells access to Verizon’s 4G LTE and 5G networks. More than 310,000 new Xfinity Mobile wireless lines were activated in Q4 2023, bringing Comcast’s total number of wireless lines to 6.6 million, the company said.

Overall, Comcast said its various businesses helped bring in $31.25 billion during Q4 2023, slightly higher than the $30.5 billion expected by Wall Street analysts. Net income grew to $3.26 billion during Q4, representing a year-over growth of nearly 8 percent.

Comcast said it would raise its dividend to $1.24 per share, marking the 16th consecutive year that the company has increased that payout to shareholders.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).