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Peacock grows to 30 million subscribers, Comcast president says

A smart TV connected to an Xfinity Flex box shows programming for Peacock and other apps. (Courtesy image)
A smart TV connected to an Xfinity Flex box shows programming for Peacock and other apps. (Courtesy image)

Comcast’s direct-to-consumer streaming service Peacock has reached the 30 million subscriber mark, one of the company’s top executives affirmed on Monday.

Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Comcast President Mike Cavanagh said the milestone helped push Peacock’s average revenue per user, or ARPU, to around $10 per month. ARPU is a key metric used by investors to gauge the health of a streaming-focused media company relative to its expenditures.

“Remember we started cold three years ago because of the change in ownership of Hulu,” Cavanagh said, adding that the Walt Disney Company — which owns a majority stake in Hulu — cut Comcast an initial check for $8.5 billion as it works to buy out the cable company’s 33 percent interest in the streaming service.

Peacock is seen as Comcast’s way to push into direct-to-consumer streaming at a time when more consumers are ditching traditional pay television like cable and satellite for cheaper, streaming-only options.

To that end, Comcast’s NBC Universal for years distributed its prime-time shows and news content through Hulu and Netflix, but recently decided to move its intellectual property to Peacock full-time. One of the biggest titles impacted by the switch was “The Office,” the hit NBC sitcom that had been exclusive to Netflix for years and now lives within the Peacock streaming ecosystem.

“We’re still very significant in distribution…nothing’s going to change the gravity that that side of the business is feeling, but the infrastructure that we have as we bring it to life, in the form of Peacock, is a great is a great way to think about the game we’re trying to play,” Cavanagh said.

Overseas, Comcast has partnered with domestic rival Paramount Global to offer a version of Peacock that is bundled with Paramount’s movies and shows. The streamer, called Sky Showtime, uses Peacock’s technology stack and includes shows and movies from both brands, including hit films from Dreamworks Animation, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures along with series from NBC, USA Network, CBS and Showtime. The service is primarily distributed in European countries where Comcast and Paramount lack brand recognition.

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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).