Friday, November 5, 2021, 10:51 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’s Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.
On Comcast’s Q3 ’21 earnings call, management was vague about how Peacock is performing. In Corporate America, not highlighting numbers is typically a sign that things are not going as well as hoped and/or the numbers are not as impressive, comparably speaking, as those of competitors. A round of speculation about Peacock’s performance and what might happen next has ensued.
On this week’s podcast, Colin and I try to explain what we think is happening. The hard truth for Peacock is that it came to market very late and that it is competing against well-funded and highly aggressive competitors which are spending heavily on originals and on promotions - a commitment that Comcast/NBCUniversal have not publicly committed to match. Another issue - at least relative to Paramount+/Showtime, which gained 4.3 million subscribers in Q3 - is that Peacock doesn’t include NBC’s linear feed, and also doesn’t specialize in mature content, which has a strong draw. These two benefits (and “Star Trek”) have no doubt helped Paramount+/Showtime. Yet another issue is that popular NBC programming continues to be available in Hulu.
All of these factors, and others, are limiting Peacock’s appeal. As if that wasn’t enough, Comcast has mixed incentives related to Hulu, because it still has a 30% stake that is getting more valuable by the day, as Netflix stock hits new highs. Comcast is financially disincented from harming Hulu by pulling programming to help Peacock (all of this would have been moot if only Comcast had acquired Hulu when it had the chance back in 2018). Comcast has missed out on billions in additional revenue and value creation.
In short, Comcast/NBCU are now facing a dilemma with Peacock that can be boiled down to: Go Big or Go Home. Either commit to spending what's required to compete effectively (either at the AVOD or SVOD level), or recognize Peacock is going to keep treading water and will likely never break out. It’s a tough decision, but it reflects the penalty late entrants face, especially when squaring off against competitors like Netflix, Amazon, Disney, HBO Max, etc.
Listen to the podcast (33 minutes, 38 seconds)
- Why Comcast Should Take Control of Hulu
- Comcast Drops Fox Bid, Foregoing A Major Opportunity With Hulu
- Quick Math Shows Comcast Missed Out On Almost $6 Billion in Revenue By Not Buying the Rest of Hulu
- Peacock is Poised to Play Many Roles for NBCU and Comcast
- Did Comcast Just Put the Final Nail in Xfinity TV’s Coffin?