Peacock hits 18 million subs, says NBCU’s Shell but Q4 is looking tough

NBCU CEO Jeff Shell used the UBS TMT investor conference to reveal that the company’s streaming platform Peacock now has 18m subscribers – up from 15m in early October. He said that is “real subscribers paying us real American dollars”.

Jeff Shell

Shell said the platform’s growth spurt was largely due to the decision to migrate NBC content away from its JV with Disney, Hulu, towards Peacock. NBC owner Comcast is currently expected to sell its stake in Hulu to Disney in 2024.

Shell told his audience that NBCU believes in “the premium video ad-supported, dual revenue stream – essentially broadcast and cable on streaming – driven by key programming.” He remains bullish about the company’s prospects but warned that the ad market is “worsening” and that investors should prepare for a challenging Q4. Separately there have been reports that NBCU is gearing up for layoffs in 2023.

Like most of the Hollywood majors, Comcast/NBCU is grappling with how best to shift from traditional linear TV towards streaming. Aside from Peacock, it owns ad-supported streaming platform Xumo and Sky, a European PayTV platform which has developed its own streaming capabilities and also acts an app aggregator.

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