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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Peacock’s Massive Sports Buildup Has Yet To Convince Consumers

  • Adjusted losses expand for streaming platform as subscriber growth flattens
  • Comcast rules out purchasing part of ESPN, but is open to NBA rights bid

Peacock has one of the most enviable sports lineups of any major streaming player — but is it resonating with consumers? 

NBC’s streaming service boasts a lineup featuring the NFL, MLB, soccer’s Premier League, and Spanish-language rights to the World Cup and Women’s World Cup — not to mention the Olympics, Big Ten and Notre Dame football, NASCAR, and the PGA Tour. 

But second-quarter earnings released by parent Comcast on Thursday suggest the platform’s massive sports buildup — including a $110 million deal for an exclusive NFL Wild Card game — hasn’t fully connected with customers.

Peacock generated a subscriber base of 24 million, up by just 2 million from the prior quarter. Quarterly revenue soared by 85% to $820 million, but the adjusted loss deepened from $467 million year-over-year to $651 million.

The Peacock subscriber total is also less than the 25.3 million subscribers Disney reported for ESPN+ at the end of its fiscal second quarter and far below rival general-interest streaming services such as Netflix (238.4 million), Disney+ (157.8 million), Paramount+ (60 million), and Hulu (48.2 million).

“Sports continues to be a huge driver,” said Comcast president Mike Cavanagh of subscriptions, touting the company’s overall portfolio.

ESPN Deal ‘Very Improbable’

Comcast also dismissed the possibility of becoming a minority partner of ESPN. Prior speculation centered in part on Comcast after Disney CEO Bob Iger said earlier this month he was open to equity partners for the sports media giant.

“I would just say that’s very improbable,” Cavanagh said, citing tax and structural issues.

However, he did admit that a Comcast bid for NBA rights is “something I’d like to see us take a look at.”

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