NBCUniversal’s flagship streamer Peacock reached 28 million subscribers after adding 4 million in the latest quarter, and did so at a loss of $565 million.
The studio’s streaming service lost $614 million the previous year. The entertainment group pointed to a “peak loss” for Peacock this year of about $3 billion, downgrading its outlook for a loss of $2.8 billion on Thursday.
The latest Peacock earnings report released as part of NBCU parent Comcast’s Q3 results showed streamer revenue at $840 million, up 64 percent from a year earlier.
Comcast Corp. President Mike Cavanagh said on a morning analyst call that media giant Peacock is sticking to its plans to anchor its transition from legacy linear TV networks to the streaming space. “We continue to be pleased with our progress in the few short years we’ve advanced our streaming strategy as a result of the ownership changes at Hulu,” Comcast executives said when they forecast Peacock’s improved financial performance in 2024.
Overall, Comcast’s content and experiences division, which includes NBCUniversal’s TV and streaming business, international networks and Sky Sports channels, and its movie studios and theme parks, rose less than 1 percent to $10.5 billion, while adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, Depreciation and amortization was $1.97 billion.
NBCUniversal studio segment reported EBITDA down 22 percent to $429 million and revenue down 23.6 percent to $2.5 billion on lower content licensing and theatrical revenue. By Christopher Nolan Oppenheimer While it grossed more than $900 million at the box office worldwide, overall theatrical revenue at the studio fell 25 percent to $504 million, the highest in the year-ago period. Minions: The Rise of Gru And Jurassic World: Dominion.
NBCU’s media unit results included revenue of $6 billion, up .4 percent from the prior year, and adjusted EBITDA profit of $7.23 million, up 6.5 percent year-over-year due to higher revenue and lower operating expenses. Due to lower political ad revenue in domestic markets compared to 2022, domestic advertising in the media segment fell 8.4 percent to $1.91 billion, while domestic distribution revenue increased 3.8 percent to $2.5 billion.
In the most recent quarter, theme park revenue from Universal’s locations in Orlando, Florida, Los Angeles, Osaka and Beijing rose 17 percent to $2.41 billion. In its traditional cable TV business, Comcast lost another 490,000 subscribers in the latest quarter as it faces the continuing impact of cord-cutting and TV viewers paying forward to streaming platforms.
Elsewhere, Comcast shed another 18,000 residential broadband subscribers while gaining 294,000 wireless subscribers. A combination of declining broadband customers and domestic advertising revenue sent Comcast shares down $2.83, or 6.6 percent, to $39.92 on Thursday morning.
During an analyst call, Comcast CFO Jason Armstrong announced that the media giant had saved about $500 million in working capital during the current production shutdown in Hollywood amid twin actor and writer strikes. “We expect this advantage in working capital to reverse as we ramp up our normalized production in the coming quarters,” he added.
Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts declined to comment when asked about media speculation that pro sports leagues such as the NBA and NFL could invest in Disney’s ESPN service. But he argued for live TV sports on Peacock, including its upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics coverage, and his company’s growing focus on streaming live sports to engage and retain viewers.
“A big part of that is commitment and belief, and we see all sports finding a way to be streamed more and more in the next years. That’s going to require more bandwidth. That should create an opportunity for us to have superior products in the market. That’s our strategy and sports is really at the heart and soul of a lot of what we do.” There is,” Roberts told analysts about the tilt at the peacock game, adding benefits to the company’s broadband Internet strategy.
Roberts also talked about Walt Disney and Charter Communications recently unveiling a new carriage deal that many see as reshaping the TV landscape. While praising the two companies for making a new deal that worked for them, he dismissed the single garage model of running the TV business.
“Every situation is a little different. What’s important to us is finding a way for our customers to have a great network, to integrate content and get access to that great content. I think we’re in a very good position to do that. We look forward to making it work,” Roberts said.