NBCU’s Peacock original spend to hit $5bn, as investment shifts from linear


NBCUniversal (NBCU) is to double its investment on Peacock originals in 2022 to $3bn, with plans to hit annual spending of $5bn in the “next couple of years.”

The additional domestic spending on content will be moved from NBCU’s linear networks to the streamer, according to the company’s CEO Jeff Shell, who was speaking on parent company Comcast’s quarterly update to investors.

The investment will result in a loss for NBCU of around $2.5bn before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), the studio said.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts added that the streamer had secured 9 million paid subscribers by the end of 2021 and 24.5 million monthly users, up from 20 million in July.

The “vast majority” of paying subscribers chose the $5 ad-supported version rather than the $10 ad-free option, the company added.

Roberts said that the growth meant his firm was “committed to reallocating resources and increasing investment” in the .

Losses, investment & international

The news came alongside Comcast’s Q4 numbers, which revealed that the streamer had brought in $778m in revenue and lost $1.7bn in Q4, double the $663m it lost over the same period in 2020.

Peacock, which recently launched via Sky in Europe, will also increasingly become the online home for shows that at present go to Hulu, which is majority owned by Disney.

Shell did not expand on when or how that shift would occur, but said: “Much of our strong NBC content premieres on Hulu and over time we’d like to bring that back to Peacock.”

While Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh outlined the plan to increase content spending to $5bn in the coming years, Shell said that Peacock’s international expansion is progressing on a “country-by-country basis”.

He added that the streamer’s launch via Comcast-owned Sky in Europe, in addition to the Sky-Showtime joint venture and its US operations would ensure the company reached “70% of the overall streaming market.”

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