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Peacock Exceeded $1B Revenue in Q4 as Sports Drive Streaming Engagement 

Peacock TV, streaming, entertainment, sports, subscriptions, subscription commerce

Peacock is seeing rapid growth, leveraging exclusive sports content to drive adoption in the face of stiff competition in the streaming space.

The streaming platform’s parent company, Comcast, reported in its fourth-quarter 2023 financial results that Peacock experienced significant growth in paid subscribers and revenue. The streaming platform saw a nearly 50% increase in paid subscribers compared to the prior year period, reaching 31 million subscribers, and revenue shot up by 57% year over year, marking the first quarter to surpass $1 billion.

On a call with analysts, Comcast Chief Financial Officer Jason Armstrong noted that the platform’s subscriber growth was “driven by sports,” with content such as NFL and Big Ten games boosting engagement, as well as by original programming and by major movie releases, such as Five Nights at Freddy’s. 

“We couldn’t be prouder of what we accomplished with Peacock in 2023. … We’re achieving a level of scale with paying subs that’s about 60% of the level of the streamers that have been out there for many years domestically, ex-Netflix,” Comcast President Mike Cavanagh added. “… So, while it’s not the scale we ultimately plan to get to, I’ve got to say the team has done a fantastic job.”

Since the quarter ended, the company has continued to drive engagement with costly sports bets. Earlier this month, the platform broke the record for the most-streamed event in the country’s history, with the AFC wild-card playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins averaging 23 million viewers. Cavanagh noted on the call that, during the game, Peacock was “consuming 30% of all internet traffic in the U.S.”

“We’re focused now on retention of the subs that came in right around the game, … and the engagement of the people that were already on the platform,” Cavanagh said, adding that the upcoming Summer Olympics will also drive engagement going forward.

Granted, the streaming service continued to see losses, albeit less so than the year before, with Comcast reporting an adjusted EBITDA loss of $825 million related to Peacock, down from the $978 million loss in the same period the previous year. 

Peacock’s rate of growth may exceed category leader Netflix, but Netflix, for its part, reported a greater number of subscribers added in its most recent quarter, with 13.1 million new members, according to a letter to shareholders Tuesday (Jan. 23).

This growth comes even as many consumers hit unsubscribe. Recent reports show that roughly 1 in 4 U.S. subscribers to major services like NetflixHulu and Disney+ have canceled at least three subscriptions in the last two years.

PYMNTS Intelligence and sticky.io’s report, “Subscription Commerce Conversion Index: Subscribers Seek Affordability and Convenience,” found that 53% of consumers paying for a streaming subscription would cancel the service if they were unable to pay other essential bills. Still, the study found that seven in 10 U.S. consumers was subscribed to at least one streaming service.

In fact, the PYMNTS Intelligence study “The One-Stop Bill Pay Playbook: Drivers of Consumers’ Bill Payment Priorities,” which drew from a survey of more than 2,100 U.S. consumers, found that when people are unable to pay all their bills, streaming subscriptions are the first to be canceled.