Comcast’s new Peacock streaming service has added 10 million customers since its limited launch in April and national launch in mid-July. The announcement was a bright spot in the cable giant’s otherwise mostly grim second quarter earnings report, as it continued to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on its entertainment divisions. Net income for the quarter fell 4.4 percent to $2.99 billion on revenue of $23.7 billion.
“NBCUniversal successfully launched Peacock in Cable’s footprint in April, ahead of the streaming service’s U.S. nationwide launch earlier this month, with 10 million sign-ups to date,” Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement announcing the earnings results. Peacock, considered a relatively late entrant in the crowded streaming market, is ahead of new rival HBO Max, which drew 4.1 million subscribers since its May launch.
Comcast’s home internet and cable segment was flat, at about $14.4 billion, even as it lost 477,000 video customers. The company added 323,000 broadband customers. That figure doesn’t include some 600,000 subscribers who are either part of a special free promotion for lower-income customers or customers who are behind on payments due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With theme parks and movie theaters closed and major sports events canceled throughout the second quarter, Comcast’s entertainment divisions suffered the most. Revenue for its NBCUniversal segment was down 25 percent to $6.1 billion, and revenue for its movie division was down 18 percent to $1.2 billion. Universal announced on Tuesday that it had reached a deal with AMC Theaters to shrink the theatrical release window for its films from around 90 days to 17 days.
(Disclosure: Comcast and NBCUniversal are investors in Vox Media, parent company of The Verge.)
Revenue for Comcast’s theme park division fell from $1.4 billion in the year-ago quarter to $87 million as all of its Universal theme parks were closed in March due to the pandemic.
Advertising revenue for its cable networks, which include Bravo and USA Network, was down 27 percent to $679 million. And for broadcast networks NBC and Telemundo, ad revenue declined 28 percent to $959 million. Revenue for its Sky division in Europe was down 15 percent to $4 billion.