Comcast Sees Better TV Ad Market For NBCU, Peacock Now At 15 Million Subscribers

NBCUniversal is seeing stronger national TV scatter advertising for its traditional TV platforms as well as higher numbers of Peacock subscribers for the new premium streaming service.

Speaking today at a Goldman Sachs conference, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corp. Brian Roberts says Peacock now has 15 million subscribers -- 50% more than just six weeks ago. Comcast is owner of NBCUniversal.

“Engagement has been growing," Roberts says, adding: "Usage is climbing. The renewals are positive. And the interface and user experience are the best part.”

Looking at the advertising market -- with regard to near-term scatter deals, and long-term upfront advertising -- Roberts says things have improved in the third-quarter period, from the 30% declines the company was seeing earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic period, a few months ago.



“We're going to be substantially better than that,” he says, referring to the current scatter period where deals are made on month-by-month, quarter-by-quarter basis.

“We're seeing a nice pickup in demand. Scatter is improving almost every day with really good signs for both the third and fourth quarter,” Roberts says.

Although he did not offer pricing and volume details, Roberts says “[concerning] the upfront, we're really pleased with how that's going.... we're not back to where we were, but I think there's real encouraging signs ahead.”

In the second quarter of this year, NBCUniversal’s overall cable TV network revenues were down 15% to $2.5 billion, with advertising collapsing by 27%. Distribution revenue sank 14.8% as a result of its regional sports networks (RSNs) airing fewer games.

Broadcast revenues dropped by just 1.6% to $2.4 billion, with advertising down 28%.

Helping to offset the declines, broadcast had strong revenue growth -- up 9% -- in retransmission and distribution revenue for its TV stations and networks.

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