Peacock has hit 30 million paying subscribers, and Comcast thinks it will only continue to get bigger.
At the UBS Global Media and Communications conference Monday morning, Comcast president Mike Cavanagh revealed the new subscribers number, adding that the average ARPU (average revenue per user) is $10 per month.
“Remember we started cold three years ago because of the change in ownership of Hulu,” Cavanagh said, adding that the company was pleased with Peacock’s growth, and is focused on growing it domestically.
Peacock, he added, is NBCUniversal‘s gateway to streaming.
“We’re still very significant in distribution — as much as anybody in the traditional linear world — nothing’s going to change the gravity that that side of the business is feeling, but the infrastructure that we have as we bring it to life, in the form of Peacock, is a great is a great way to think about the game we’re trying to play,” he said.
Cavanagh added that “we collected eight and a half billion dollar check on Friday” from Disney as an initial payment for Comcast’s stake in Hulu. The companies are now beginning the process to figure out how much more Disney will need to pay. The check (or more likely the wire transfer) has cleared, Cavanagh added.
But the executive also talked about the current state of media, and framed NBCUniversal as a more creator-friendly studio for filmmakers and talent, a subtle jab perhaps at competitors like Disney which focus on franchises exclusively, or at Warner Bros. Discovery, which has made headlines for shelving projects with little warning.
“Really what’s most important is I think in the market you know, we’ve got such good leadership and such good relationships in Hollywood,” Cavanagh said. “Our reliance rather than being based on formulaic series has been more around originality and creativity. So the partnerships we have with creators like a Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan with 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 to be a good partner in creating that. And that feels a little bit like what the moment calls for in Hollywood.”
He did, however, note that Disney is NBCUniversal’s only real competitor in the theme parks business, and added that the company is taking a slightly different strategy when it comes to incorporating IP into its theme parks.
“There is nobody at the caliber and scale other than ourselves and Disney,” Cavanagh said. “Interestingly Disney typically — I mean never say never — but they’re capitalizing on their own IP, which puts us in a very interesting position to be able to take our own IP but also others, as you see with Harry Potter and now Nintendo, and be a partner that can take advantage of all the cool IP out there.”
As for whether NBCUniversal could ever be involved in M&A, Cavanagh noted Comcast’s strong balance sheet, and added that the “bar is very high” for a deal.
“I think I think our job always to look at things but I all I can say is the bar is really high because I really like the organic hand we have,” he said. “We don’t need to do anything inorganic acquisition-wise to make any of what I described happen, so therefore the bar has to be really high on that on that front.”