Is Peacock a successful service or not? By the numbers, Peacock has 44 million signups. But signups do not represent paid subscribers. Its one of those things. All subscribers are counted as activated accounts but not all activated accounts are subscribers. Peacock has a substantial amount of free content available that requires users to provide nothing more than an email address. Once that account is set up the app can see who is accessing the content and what they like. The truth is that this is worth a lot of money. Because it can be used to reach out to the advertisers who buy space on Peacock’s ad-supported teirs.
Peacock is set up to pull in the best of three worlds. And it may prove to be quite a cash cow for Comcast. It has a free tier as mentioned above that depends solely on ads to cash in. It also has a “Premium” tier which provides access to more content including Peacock originals but still includes commercials and finally a more expensive commercial-free tier. The company is going to make money on all of its viewers.
This makes Peacock a lot different from others in the streaming space. While some services like Pluto TV or Xumo exist purely in the free space called “FASTS” (Free Ad-Supported Streaming Services) others like Netflix exist as premium ad-free services. Hulu and Paramount+ are premium services that have ad-free and ad-supported versions. Peacock provides viewers with all three options in one app.
Why doesn’t Peacock tell us how many people pay for its service?
Companies just don’t seem to tout numbers about specifics unless they are spectacular. It’s not just a Comcast thing. You have to be pulling in Disney+ numbers to break it out on its own. HBO Max does not regularly publish how many people subscribe to the service VS how many accounts are activated via cable subscribers. But that is a different topic. Dish Network often combines numbers from Sling TV and Dish Network in its overall subscriber base while also breaking out the numbers of subs for Sling TV. Our guess is that it’s all about buzz. If Peacock could say it had 60 million premium subscribers it would sing it from the mountain top. Even if it could match Hulu at over 30 million paid subs it would bring it up. But while the actual paid subscribers are estimated to be a third of its overall number which would mean over 14 million people subscribe to Peacocks premium services, it isn’t as eye-popping as others in the space. And with a press that is always trying to declare winners and losers, this helps avoid headlines that could spook investors.
As long as people are watching content on Peacock Comcast is making money. This is why Viacom bought Pluto TV. Sure it is a different model than the traditional pay-TV model, but it’s one that works. And it’s also one that is built for a future where broadcast and Internet-based content is blending together to just become good ole TV. Viewers matter and so do analytics. And as long as Peacock has proof that it has viewers it will be able to monetize the information just as easily as it monetizes the service from the direct to the consumer end. Peacock is a long-term investment that will allow Comcast to cash in on its older content, highlight exclusives like the new WWE content, and promote its current programming via on-demand access.