Peacock Streaming Service to Break Even by Year 5, Comcast CFO Says

Peacock Logo - H - 2019

At a UBS investor conference Monday in New York, Michael Cavanagh also said that NBCUniversal would invest $2 billion in the direct-to-consumer offering over two years, which will be free for Comcast subscribers.

Comcast's NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock, set to launch in the spring, will invest $2 billion over the first two years and break even by year five, Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh said Monday.

Speaking at the UBS Global TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) Conference in New York in a session that was webcast, the exec said that much of the early spending would be on content and marketing, but the different approach compared with competitors would ensure that near-term losses would be lower. Cavanagh also said that Peacock would be free for Comcast subscribers, with tiered pricing for non-customers. He reiterated that the service would include advertising, but didn't provide further details.

Comcast has set a Jan. 16 investor event to unveil details of the service, which will launch in April. 

Management and chatter have previously suggested that the service would include a subscription tier, as well as a tier that is free and possibly a cheaper tier supported by advertising. Peacock will join the so-called "streaming wars" after the launches of Apple TV+ and Disney+ and just before the launch of HBO Max.  

Comcast last year closed its $39 billion deal for European pay TV giant Sky after outbidding Disney-backed 21st Century Fox, which then sold its 39 percent holding in Sky to Comcast. The company recently said it was exploring the launch of a global NBC-Sky news channel.

Sky said last week it will invest in building a new 32-acre TV and film studio with 14 soundstages at Elstree, England, which is just north of London and also home to Elstree Studios. Promising "a huge boost to Britain’s creative sector," Sky said the studio would lead to the creation of more than 2,000 new jobs, "help fuel the local economy" and "generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the U.K.’s creative economy over the first five years of operation from Sky, NBCUniversal and other producers," or $3.9 billion.