Peacock has proved that offering a free streaming service, is the right move.
Particularly during a pandemic.
Comcast announced its earnings yesterday for the second quarter, and within the earnings, the company announced that Peacock has 10 million sign-ups now. That is since launching in April for Comcast customers and more broadly earlier this month. That's vastly different to AT&T's HBO MAX, which has about four million sign-ups after launching two months ago.
Peacock is available as a "freemium" streaming service
Instead of being just another streaming service, Comcast set out to make Peacock different. And that is because it is a free streaming service, but in order to get all of the content available on Peacock, you will need to upgrade to Premium or Premium Plus.
It's a lot like mobile games, where they suck you in by allowing you to play for free, but in order to get past a certain level, you need to pay up. Peacock is pretty similar. Though, for most people, the free version is going to be more than enough. And some Comcast customers can get Premium for free.
Peacock was off to a somewhat rough start though, after losing some of its biggest titles just days after the service launched for everyone. But Comcast is getting the sign ups, which is exactly what they want.
NBCUniversal did take a big hit this quarter
While there's good news for Peacock, it's not all good news for NBCUniversal. It took some hits this quarter, mostly due to the pandemic. With advertisers pulling back on their spending and also theme parks shutting down entirely.
This forced NBCUniversal revenue to decline 25.4% year-over-year. That's a huge hit for NBCUniversal. Theme parks had the steepest drop, 94.1%, down to $87 million. Universal's parks in Florida and Japan did reopen in limited capacity last month, but rising case counts in Florida likely means it'll be closing again.
The other big hit was filmed entertainment, which has been impacted by theater closures, however, it did see content licensing revenue grow 19.5%. This is because it moved some releases like "Trolls World Tour" to premium video on demand. But having to delay some of its biggest movies like Fast and Furious 9, really forced this division to take a hit.
As parts of NBCUniversal are starting to come back online, we could see a resurgence in the third quarter, but don't expect it to fully recover that quickly.