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Peacock up by nine million subs as Comcast mulls international expansion

NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock added nine million subscribers in the first quarter of the year.

The Comcast-owned company attributed the growth to the addition of iconic US sitcom The Office as a Peacock exclusive, along with the deal to acquire the WWE Network in a deal worth a reported US$1 billion.

In total, Peacock now has 42 million members in the US, but the company does not state how many of the new sign ups are paying members. A significant chunk of that total are either using Peacocks’s free, ad-supported tier, or are accessing the US$4.99 tier for free via their pay TV subscription.

The addition is also down from Q4 2020, when Peacock added 11 million subscribers. The service will also face stiff competition in the coming months when WarnerMedia launches the ad-supported version of HBO Max. Recent reports claim that the cheaper tier would cost US$9.99 per month – the same price as Peacock’s top tier. 

In terms of revenue, Peacock is counted within the Media section of the NBCUniversal total revenue. This business made US$5,036 billion, up 3.2% from the US$3.878 billion in Q1 2020.

Speaking on the company’s earnings call, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that “we’re making great progress with Peacock.”

The CEO touted the success of Peacock’s strategy as a value-add for its Xfinity services, and said that the company “can see compelling ways we can expand internationally.” He said that “We’re looking to take advantage of the brand and scales of Sky across our European markets and potentially strike partnerships,” but said that additional details on any international expansion would come later in the year.