NBCU’s Shell: Peacock Hits 15M Paid Subs

(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

NEW YORK—In an interview with CNBC, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell reported that its streaming service Peacock now has 30 million accounts that were using the service monthly and 15 million paid subs, up from the 13 million the company reported in the second quarter.  

Shell also confirmed reports that NBC had explored the idea of handing the 10 p.m. prime time slot back to affiliates.  

During the interview, Shell was asked about reports that NBC might stop programming the 10 p.m. prime time hour to save money that could be invested in streaming. 

“If we are being prudent operators, which we try to be in allocating a bunch of resources to one part of the business, you have to look at the allocation of resources to others,” Shell replied. “I don't think we're ready to make a decision on 10 o'clock or anything else but we are looking to reallocate resources.”

Shell added that “given the numbers, whatever the numbers are right now, we have a lot of great shows at 10 o'clock. We make a lot of money at 10 o'clock....There's no question…as linear declines. You're gonna have to make some trade offs and we'll be looking at that [and] our investors will want us to look at that.” 

He also said that Peacock was growing revenues, with a paid ARPU (average revenue per subscriber) that was approaching $10 a month and that during the upfronts they had secured $1 billion in ad commitments. “In the third quarter, we have reached the point where we [are at an annual run rate of about] $2 billion in annual revenues on Peacock. So I don’t know a lot of businesses that you’ve covered that in two years have reached a point of $2 billion.”

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.