42 million have now signed up to Peacock, according to the latest figures released by Comcast. The number continues to highlight how quickly the NBCUniversal service is growing, but at the same time, it remains to be seen just how many of those are actually paying for the service.
Peacock launched mid-way through 2020, following a brief exclusivity period for Comcast Xfinity customers. By October the number of sign-ups had reached 22 million and by the end of the year, Comcast confirmed the service had reached 33 million sign-ups in the U.S. Since then, that number has continued to grow.
Comcast today released its first quarter of 2021 results, confirming Peacock had reached 42 million sign-ups to date. This essentially means it has gained nine million since the announcement in January. One of the reasons Comcast specifically credited for the growth in 2021 was the “addition of exclusive domestic streaming rights.” Specifically, exclusive rights to WWE Network and The Office.
Besides the increase in sign-ups, the exclusive content also appears to have helped boost revenue. According to Comcast, content licensing revenue increased by 14.1-percent in the quarter, and this was once again attributed to “content that became exclusively available for streaming on Peacock.”
The issue of paying Peacock users
While 42 million sign-ups sounds impressive, and it is, there is the issue of clarity on what those numbers actually mean in terms of paid subscribers. Unlike many of the other main streaming services, Peacock offers a completely free tier that allows users to watch a limited selection of content at no cost. However, the problem here is Comcast has yet to specify how many people are actually paying for Peacock.
Knowing how many paid subscribers the service has would allow for better comparisons on how it is doing compared to other services. For example, a report in February suggested that only 0.4-percent of those signed up to Peacock were paying $9.99 for the Premium plan. In addition, it is notably difficult to totally close a Peacock account down. While paid subscribers can easily cancel their subscription, the account automatically converts to a free account by default. Unless a user goes to the extra effort of fully deleting their Peacock account, it is possible they are considered Peacock users, even if they don’t actually use the service, let alone pay for it.