NBCUniversal’s Peacock hits 10 million signups

July 30, 2020, 1:38 PM UTC

NBCUniversal’s Peacock has signed up 10 million users, making the new streaming service a rare bright spot at Comcast Corp.’s pandemic-ravaged entertainment division.

Comcast disclosed the early Peacock results while reporting its second-quarter earnings on Thursday. NBC has said it hopes Peacock will reach 30 million to 35 million active users by 2024.

Peacock, which is free and supported by advertising, made its debut to Comcast subscribers in April and expanded nationwide on July 15. It’s still unavailable through Roku Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.’s Fire TV, the most popular connected-TV platforms.

AT&T Inc.’s HBO Max, which aims to have 50 million subscribers within five years, has 4.1 million activations so far, the company said last week. It also isn’t available on Roku and Fire.

While consumers have been testing out Peacock, NBCUniversal’s theme-park, TV and film businesses have struggled during the pandemic. NBCUniversal’s quarterly revenue declined 25% last quarter to $6.1 billion, Comcast said Thursday.

The company’s theme parks have been hit particularly hard by the virus, recording a loss of nearly $400 million in the quarter. Universal’s theme park in Florida reopened in June but attendance has been thin due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Comcast’s internet business, however, continues to hum along as people rely on broadband connections for entertainment as well as working and learning from home. Comcast added 323,000 internet customers in the quarter, up 54% from a year ago.

That number didn’t include more than 600,000 customers who got internet free or got a break on paying their monthly bills through programs aimed at helping keep people connected during the pandemic. AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc. last week similarly reported swaths of nonpaying customers.

Comcast’s total quarterly revenue of $23.7 billion and adjusted profit of 69 cents a share both surpassed analysts’ estimates, and the company maintained its dividend. Its shares were up 2.2% to $44.87 in premarket trading at 9:09 a.m. in New York.

The company lost 477,000 video subscribers in the quarter, more than double the losses from the same period a year ago. Comcast has raised TV prices and expressed little interest in keeping cost-conscious customers.

The video losses could also be a sign that more people cut the cord because some major sports weren’t playing during the quarter, or because they lost income during a pandemic that’s led to high unemployment.