Peacock Signups Increase to 33 Million, Comcast Says

NBCU's Peacock added more subscribers (Image credit: NBCUniversal)

NBCUniversal said its Peacock streaming service now has 33 million sign-ups as the Comcast unit reported lower profits and revenues as the pandemic continued to hurt its TV and theme parks business.

The 33 million Peacock sign-ups compare to the 26 million the company said it had in December

Comcast said that Peacock generated $100 million in revenue, but lost $700 million. The company expects it to lose $2 billion in 2020 and 2021 combined.

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The gains for the streaming service come as cord-cutting continued at parent company Comcast, whose cable unit lost 248,000 video customers in the quarter.

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Comcast reported that NBCU’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were down 20.7% to $1.6 billion.

Revenue fell 18.1% to $7.5 billion.

At NBCU’s cable networks, EBITDA rose 22.4% to $1.3 billion. Revenue was down 6.4% to $2.7 billion, but programming and production expenses were down even more because of the delay of the start of the season for some sports leagues.

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Cable network ad revenue decreased 4.2%. Distribution revenue was flat.

Broadcast television EBITDA fell 24.3% as revenue fell 12% to $2.8 billion. Ad revenue was down 9.6% as new series were delayed, and content licensing revenue was down 38.6%. Distribution and other revenue was up 10% because of higher retransmission fees.

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NBCU’s theme parks reported a loss of $15 million in the quarter as revenue fell 82.9% to $579 million. The company’s park in California remains closed and its Orlando and Japan attractions are operating at limited capacity.

Overall, Comcast’s fourth-quarter net income rose 6.9% to $3.4 billion, or 73 cents per share, from $3.2 billion, or 68 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 2.4% to $27.7 billion.

Comcast’s cable unit’s EBITDA rose 12.3% to $6.6 billion as revenue rose 6.3% to $15.7 billion.

Comcast Cable’s video revenue fell 0.7% to $5.5 billion. High-speed internet revenue rose 12.7% to $$5.4 billion. Ad revenue rose 33.8% to $935 million.

“Outstanding performance at cable drove very strong fourth-quarter results for our company,“ Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said. “We added 538,000 net new broadband customers and delivered adjusted EBITDA growth of over 12%.

“With the vaccines rolling out throughout the world, we are optimistic that the parts of our business that had been most impacted will soon be back on a path towards growth. This confidence is shared by our board of directors, which has announced an increase in the dividend for the thirteenth consecutive year,” Roberts said. “In addition, it is now our expectation that we will be in a position to begin repurchasing shares again in the back half of this year. While this is certainly the most challenging period we have faced, I could not be more proud of how our management team and employees continue to pull together and deliver. Today’s results are a testament to their commitment and dedication.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.