In its Q4 earnings this week, Comcast shed light on the growth of its Peacock streaming service, which has amassed a subscriber base of 24.5M monthly users in the U.S., up from 20M in June. Among those subscribers, 9M pay for the Premium ($4.99 with limited ads) or Plus ($9.99, ad-free) tiers of service, which provides access to its full range of programming. The remaining subscribers access Peacock without a separate charge through bundles on Comcast’s platforms or other pay-TV distributors.
On a call last week with investors, Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts mapped out a strategy for Peacock to increase its subscriber count by spending an additional $3B during 2022 to create or license new content. Peacock’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is now approaching $10 per month, driven by the combination of user subscriptions and ad revenue. This is a high mark compared to other streaming services such as Disney+, which has nearly five times the number of subscribers at 118M but an ARPU of only $4.12.
Comcast’s execs had originally projected that Peacock would reach financial break-even in 2024, but now acknowledge that their timeline to profitability will likely stretch out further, because of their decision to increase investments in new content. Some analysts doubt Peacock’s long-term viability as a stand-alone service, currently on a track to lose billions annually for years to come.