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Around 20 million are monthly active accounts, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts told analysts. “The third quarter thus far has been a particularly strong period and we will work hard to manage retention and grow from here, recognizing we are unlikely to replicate such tremendous performance, but we remain optimistic with a lot of programming strength ahead of us,” he said.
Comcast earlier in the morning reported higher quarterly earnings for NBCU, despite a $363 million loss related to the streaming service. Comcast didn’t immediately provide a user update for Peacock in its earnings report. And in a previous financial report in late April, Comcast mentioned 42 million signups, touting at the time that the streamer had been “benefiting from the recent addition of exclusive domestic streaming rights to WWE Network and The Office.”
Beginning in the first quarter of this year, the financial results of Peacock, previously reported in the “corporate and other” segment, have been included in the results of NBCUniversal. The streaming service’s second-quarter growth came as NBCUniversal added Boss Baby 2, drama Dr. Death and the Tokyo Olympics to its schedule.
As part of its international streaming strategy, NBCUniversal will also make Peacock an anchor tenant for 20 million Sky subscribers in Europe at no extra cost, starting in late 2021, ahead of an eventual global rollout for the streamer. Peacock will debut across Sky platforms, including Sky Q, NOW and Sky Ticket, throughout the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.
“We will leverage Sky’s significant scale and powerful brand to include Peacock at no additional cost,” Roberts told analysts. The ad-supported Peacock programming will be bundled as part of the NOW and Sky Ticket subscriptions and will include content like The Office, Rutherford Falls, Saved by the Bell, Equalizer, Young Rock, Kardashians, Suits and Downton Abbey.
Separately, Comcast and ViacomCBS are understood to be in talks on a possible international streaming partnership to leverage the combined power of Comcast’s Peacock and ViacomCBS’ Paramount+, advertising-supported Pluto TV and other streaming services.
The studio will also make programming changes to Peacock to boost its consumer offering. Starting in 2022, Roberts said a “reimagined dynamic pay one window” will shift film titles from the Universal empire to Peacock exclusively for the first and last four-month segments in the pay window. Amazon Prime and Netflix for the first time were announced to share rights for the 10 months in between those opening and closing windows, with HBO — currently Universal’s pay-one partner — not mentioned on the call.
Universal movies hitting Peacock no later than four months after they play in theaters accelerates what’s traditionally referred to as the pay-one home entertainment window that pre-pandemic didn’t kick in for six to seven months. The Comcast boss pitched Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and Peacock linking arms as offering consumers more bites at the cherry for studio film titles.
“By showcasing content across multiple platforms, Universal films will constantly refresh across the streaming ecosystem, audiences will have multiple access points with which to consume our content, and we will generate more third-party revenue, while retaining the most valuable window for Peacock,” Roberts said.
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