NBCU’s Peacock hits 15 million subs, as Sky navigates ‘difficult macroeconomics’ in Europe

Brian Roberts

Comcast has revealed that its NBCUniversal-owned streamer Peacock now has more than 15 million susbcribers in the US, but European pay TV operator Sky has fared less well over the past quarter.

Peacock’s 15 million subscribers mean it has seen growth up nearly 70% year to date, but growing the platform has come at a cost, with the results showing an adjusted EBITDA loss of $614m related to the streamer.

Revenue at European pay TV and content business Sky, meanwhile, dropped 14.7% to $4.3bn (which Comcast attributed to the impact of currency exchange rates). For the nine months ended September 30, 2022, Sky revenue decreased 11% to $13.5bn. Excluding the impact of currency, revenue decreased 1.4%, “reflecting lower DTC revenue and content revenue, partially offset by higher ad revenue”.

Total customer relationships at Sky increased by 320,000 to 23 million in the third quarter of 2022, driven by streaming customer net additions as a result of the timing of new content and the early start of the football season. However, for the nine months ended September 30, 2022, total relationships decreased by 41,000.

Sky was perhaps the most challenged part of the overall media empire, with Comcast noting that: “In Q3 2022, we recorded noncash impairment charges related to goodwill and intangible assets in our Sky segment totalling $8.6bn. The impairments primarily reflected an increased discount rate and reduced estimated future cash flows as a result of macroeconomic conditions in Sky’s territories.”

For the nine months ended September 30, 2022, NBCUniversal revenue increased 17.3% to $29.3 billion. The current year period included $1.5 billion of incremental revenue from the Beijing Winter Olympics and the NFL’s Super Bowl, while 2021 included $1.8bn of incremental revenue from the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Brian L. Roberts, chairman & CEO of Comcast, said: “At NBCUniversal, robust demand from guests at our Theme Parks and from viewers of our iconic content fuelled nearly 25% growth in adjusted EBITDA. And, at Sky, our team continues to prudently manage through a difficult and rapidly changing macroeconomic and geopolitical period in the UK and Europe.”

Comcast’s Q3 results saw revenue dipping 1.5% to $29.8bn, with the markets responding by sending the Comcast share price down 1.5% – much less than the 25% drop experienced by Meta after it delivered its results earlier this week.

Most Recent