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Peacock Reaches 33 Million Subscribers as Comcast Beats Q4 Expectations

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell stated that "The Office" has been a key draw for Peacock.

"The Office"

“The Office”

© NBC Universal, Inc.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service has signed up 33 million subscribers, Comcast announced during the company’s earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2020.

There are several caveats to that statistic: Comcast did not clarify how many of those sign-ups were paid subscribers, and it is unclear how many users have actively used the service after signing up. Peacock has a free, ad-supported subscription tier, as well as $4.99 and $9.99 ad-free subscription options that offer more content. Comcast stated that Peacock generated $100 million in revenue in Q4 but added that Peacock is estimated to post $2 billion in losses in 2020 and 2021.

Regardless, Peacock’s sign-ups, which were announced six months after the streaming service’s national rollout, indicate continued demand for streaming platforms in a market that’s only growing more crowded.

“The Office,” which moved from Netflix to Peacock at the beginning of 2021, has also been a key draw for the streaming service, according to NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell. He claimed that “The Office” has been streamed more frequently on Peacock than it was on Netflix but did not offer viewership statistics. Peacock and Netflix do not regularly release viewership data for any of their shows.

“We’re seeing people who are watching ‘The Office’ on Peacock are watching lots of our other comedies,” Shell said during the earnings call. “It’s really driving ‘Parks & Recreation’ and really driving ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’ amongst others. So, it’s kind of an ecosystem.”

NBCUniversal announced in early December that Peacock had hit 26 million signups, so it’s possible that “The Office,” which was consistently one of the most popular series on Netflix, has boosted paid subscriptions at Peacock; only the first two seasons of “The Office” are available on Peacock’s free tier.

Comcast reported revenue of $27.71 billion in Q4, exceeding Wall Street’s expectations of $26.78 billion, per data from financial tech firm Refinitiv.

Comcast’s Q4 earnings came the day after AT&T’s Q4 earnings report. The AT&T-owned WarnerMedia launched its HBO Max streaming service several weeks before Peacock’s international rollout; AT&T announced that it ended to release a cheaper ad-supported version of HBO Max in Q2 2021 during a call with investors. Netflix released its Q4 2020 earnings report earlier in January, where the company exceeded Wall Street expectations and stated that its streaming service had surpassed 200 million subscribers.

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