NBCUniversal’s Peacock, its advertising video-on-demand streamer, has now climbed to 26 million subscribers and is seeing strong advertising demand.
Jeff Shell, chief executive officer of NBC Universal, speaking at a UBS media conference on Monday, said Peacock is being helped by weak TV industry conditions.
“You just don't have enough operating points to sell advertising on traditional media,” he said, adding that this is due to fewer ratings points from network TV shows being out of production as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So we have very strong demand on Peacock; we could sell any spot we had on Peacock,” Shell said.
NBCU launched Peacock with 10 charter advertisers -- Capital One, L'Oreal USA, Molson Coors Beverage Co., Subaru of America, Verizon, Eli Lilly, Apartments.com, State Farm, Target and Unilever.
“We probably could have sold a lot more than ten. But we wanted to start slow, not have a big ad load, and have advertisers that were with us from the beginning,” Shell said.
Peacock -- which launched in mid-April -- has been growing rapidly. It had 22 million subscribers in October and 15 million in September. Peacock’s basic ad-supported option is free to consumers.
Shell said the video-on-demand streaming service has outperformed on many key metrics including the number of subscribers, how many use the service regularly and of those regular users, how many hours they are watching per month.
He adds: “So the momentum just continues in a very strong linear way. And we don't have any of our strong programming yet.” That will come starting in January 2021, when Peacock gets back episodes of “The Office.”
That show, which was produced by NBC and aired on NBC Television Network, had been running on Netflix for years in reruns. “The Office” has been one of the top Netflix shows for years.
In addition, come July/August 2021, Peacock will have the Tokyo Summer Olympics -- which was postponed this past summer due to the pandemic. And then, seven months later, another Olympics -- the Winter Games -- will come in February 2022.
With regard to advertising, Shell says, the Summer Olympics for NBCUniversal overall are doing much better in sales now that the games will run in 2021. “We have more revenue in the door right now for the [Tokyo] Olympics in 2021 than we had at this point in for the [Tokyo] Olympics in 2020.”