CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

Peacock Breaks Streaming Records for Chiefs-Dolphins Game, but Will Subscribers Stay?

Peacock Breaks Streaming Records for Chiefs-Dolphins Game

Peacock is finding that exclusive rights to buzzy events can bring consumers in, but in subscription commerce, where longevity is the name of the game, it remains to be seen how effective this strategy will be in the long term.

The NBCUniversal streaming service announced Sunday (Jan. 14) that the AFC wild-card playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins averaged 23 million viewers across Peacock, Miami and Kansas City’s local NBC stations and on mobile devices via NFL+, becoming the most-streamed event in the country’s history, per Nielsen data.

Overall, the company added, the game reached 27.6 million viewers, peaking in the second quarter with 24.6 million.

“From NBC Sports and Peacock to the Comcast team, our entire company worked seamlessly to plan for this game and executed flawlessly to deliver a streaming experience with the NFL on a scale that’s never been done before,” Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of NBCUniversal parent company Comcast Corporation, said in a statement. “It’s a very proud moment.”

This popularity marks a boost for Peacock, which per Comcast’s last earnings release, had 28 million paid subscribers at the close of the third quarter.

Yet it remains to be seen whether this expensive bet, which according to NBC cost Peacock $110 million, will drive long-term engagement or will just create a brief spike in free trials and one-month subscriptions.

The PYMNTS Intelligence report “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 consumers are unable to pay all their bills, streaming subscriptions are the first thing they cancel.

Specifically, 55% said they would cancel streaming subscriptions if they needed to reduce the bills they received each month — more than said the same of any other service — while only 17% of those surveyed stated they would prioritize paying their streaming subscription bills in full over other bills.

Plus, recent reports show that roughly 1 in 4 U.S. subscribers to major services like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ have canceled at least three subscriptions in the last two years, and streaming service cancellations increased to 6.3% in November, up from 5.1% the year before.

Moreover, data from 2022 highlighted in PYMNTS’ Subscription Commerce Tracker® found that 55% of consumers think there are too many streaming options, and 53% find it too expensive to pay for all the content.

Right now, however, it seems that Peacock’s focus is on driving adoption in the first place, with the streaming service announcing late last year that it is offering free Peacock Premium subscriptions to Instacart members as well as statement credits to World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard cardholders.

Free trials can be effective at driving long-term engagement, at least for retail product subscriptions. A PYMNTS Intelligence survey from September 2021 found that 54% of those with active retail subscriptions first received them by signing up for a free trial. However, the same study found that 26% of subscribers were using free trials they signed up for using different accounts.

With something like an exclusive playoff game, where the subscription is explicitly for the event at hand, cancellation rates would likely be higher than for an ongoing retail product subscription, especially given widespread reports that this exclusivity rankled consumers.