Peacock has reached 30 million paid subscribers and Comcast expects the company to continue to grow.
At the UBS Global Media and Communications conference on Monday morning, Comcast President Mike Cavanagh announced the new subscriber count, adding that the average ARPU (average revenue per user) is $10 per month.
“Keep in mind that we started cold three years ago due to Hulu’s change in ownership,” Cavanagh said, adding that the company is pleased with Peacock’s growth and is focused on domestic growth.
Peacock, he added, is NBCUniversal’s gateway to streaming.
“We are still very important in sales – just like everyone else in the traditional linear world – nothing will change the importance that side of the business feels, but the infrastructure we have in bringing it to life in the “Peacock’s shape is a great way to think about the game we want to play,” he said.
Cavanagh added that “on Friday we received a check for eight and a half billion dollars from Disney as the first payment for Comcast’s investment in Hulu.” Companies are now starting to figure out how much more Disney will have to pay. The check (or more likely the transfer) had been cashed, Cavanagh added.
But the exec also spoke about the current state of media, calling NBCUniversal a more creator-friendly studio for filmmakers and talent, perhaps a subtle dig at rivals like Disney, which focuses exclusively on franchises, or Warner Bros. Discovery, which has done so made headlines because projects were put on hold without warning.
“I think what’s really most important is that we have such good leadership in Hollywood and such good relationships in the market,” Cavanagh said. “We relied on originality and creativity rather than formulaic series. So the partnerships we have with creators like Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan Oppenheimer, Chris Meledandri and Illumination, Jason Blum on the horror side. Jordan Peele, you know, I think we’re a place where creators want to bring original ideas, and we’re known for being a good partner in bringing those ideas to life. And that feels a little bit like what the moment in Hollywood calls for.”
However, he pointed out that Disney is NBCUniversal’s only real competitor in the theme park business, adding that the company has a slightly different strategy when it comes to integrating intellectual property into its theme parks.
“There is no one of this caliber and scale other than us and Disney,” Cavanagh said. “Interestingly, Disney usually does – I mean, never say never – but they exploit their own intellectual property, which puts us in a very interesting position to be able to exploit our own intellectual property, but also that of others, like you did with Harry Potter and now see Nintendo, and be a partner that can benefit from all the cool intellectual property.”
As to whether NBCUniversal could ever engage in mergers and acquisitions, Cavanagh pointed to Comcast’s strong balance sheet and added that “the bar for a deal is very high.”
“I think it’s our job to always pay attention to things, but all I can say is that the bar is really high because I really like the organic hand that we have,” he said. “We do not need to undertake inorganic acquisition activities to achieve what I have described. So the bar has to be set very high on this front.”