Peacock Grows to 13 Million Paid Subscribers Following Super Bowl, Winter Olympics

By Jason Lynch 

NBCUniversal’s recent shift to focusing on Peacock’s paid tier instead of its free one is already paying off for the company.

Last quarter, the streamer added 4 million paid subscribers, growing to 13 million paid subscribers. That was a 44% increase overall, parent company Comcast said as it reported earnings Thursday morning.

That was largely due to the Winter Olympics—in which all Games coverage was available to Peacock Premium subscribers (who pay at least $5 a month)—and Super Bowl 56, as well as Bel-Air, the most-watched Peacock original series to date.


Additionally, the streamer grew to 28 million active accounts, up from the 24.5 million number the company reported in January.

Subscriber retention on the service following the Super Bowl and Olympics was “well above our expectations,” Comcast CEO and chairman Brian Roberts told investors Thursday morning.

However, that momentum won’t necessarily continue into the second quarter. Roberts cautioned that he expects Peacock will have “more modest subscriber gains” until the end of the year, with a jump in subscriber numbers again thanks to Sunday Night Football and Peacock’s exclusive access to next-day NBC programs (after NBCUniversal ends its content sharing deal with Hulu this fall).

The Super Bowl and Winter Olympics brought in $1.5 billion in overall revenue to the company. Comcast did not break out how much of that was advertising revenue, but NBCU had previously projected that the two sporting events would generate $1.2 billion in ad revenue over 19 days.

NBCU’s advertising revenue for the quarter increased 59.2% year-over-year, the company said.

During its last earnings call in January, NBCUniversal disclosed the number of Peacock’s paid subscribers for the first time ever: 9 million at the time, with an additional 7 million coming from bundles with the company’s Xfinity service and other distributors such as Cox.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said that the current “noise” in the streaming business—referring to Netflix’s stock plummet last week after the streamer reported its first global subscriber loss since 2011—shows that “our business model is clearly the right business model” when it comes to streaming.

The company views Peacock as “an extension of our existing TV business,” said Shell, and not a “separate and distinct business” as Netflix is.