Peacock hits 20 million subs as Comcast weathers the storm

Brian Roberts

Media giant Comcast finished 2022 in robust shape, according to the company’s end of year and 4th Quarter 2022 financial results. Despite continued challenges in its overall PayTV business and revenue declines at Sky, the company was buoyed up by growth at its streaming platform Peacock and its theme park and movie businesses.

While overall revenues only grew by 0.7% in Q4 2022, the figure for the full year was up 4.3% to $121bn. Adjusted EBITDA fell by 4.9% in Q4 but was up 5% for the year. The biggest highlight was Peacock’s paid-subscribers hitting 20m – though the platform is still loss-making. On a conference call, Comcast president Mike Cavanagh said losses for the streamer are expected to peak in 2023 at $3 billion.

Summarising, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said: “We achieved the highest levels of revenue, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EPS in our history and returned a record $17.7bn to shareholders. We delivered impressive revenue growth in broadband; grew wireless lines by 1.3 million, our best result since launch; more than doubled our Peacock subscribers, surpassing 20 million at year-end; nearly tripled Peacock revenue to $2.1bn; ranked second in worldwide box office; and generated record adjusted EBITDA at our theme parks.” All of this was achieved while investing “in broadband, our 10G network evolution, Xfinity Mobile, Peacock, and theme parks, and we also took cost actions to further our growth in the future.”

The FIFA World Cup proved to be a mixed blessing for the company, driving a revenue increase for the overall NBC Universal Group (an incremental $263m) but dampening performance at Sky. Overall Sky revenues decreased 13% to $4.4bn in Q4 and 11.5% to $17.9bn across the year – though Comcast put this down in large part to currency exchanges: Excluding the impact of currency, revenue decreased 1.2%, reflecting lower direct-to-consumer revenue, content revenue and advertising revenue.

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