Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Is Peacock the “New Quibi?” Wall Streeters say “Stop! Put a bullet in it!”

Influential Wall Street analysts Lightshed Partners report that NBCUniversal has spent $2.5 Billion on its Peacock streaming service.

And what has it got?

  • Peacock subscribers are stuck at around 14 million.
  • There were zero subscriber gains for the recent quarter.
  • Peacock lags far behind its competitors Netflix (221 million subscribers), Disney+ (138 Mn), HBO Max (77 Mn), Paramount+ (43 Mn) and Discovery+ (24 Mn).

Lightshed called on NBCUniversal to shutter Peacock (“Kill it!”) just two years after its July 2020 launch. (Podcast episode #117, July 28. 10′)

The Promise

  • NBCUniversal promised a cost-disciplined service.
  • On the revenue side, it was to be ad-supported like Hulu.
  • Peacock’s efficient ad sales operation would be bundled with the company’s linear channels, settop boxes and connected TV’s.

What They Did Right

  • Appealing design of the logo and customer interface.
  • Memorable Olympics and other Sports coverage.
  • The relatively seamless transition between the subscription service and the free OTT feed from your cable service.

What They Did Wrong

  • Brand identity is confusing.
  • Little original, signature programming.
  • What they do have seems under-promoted and difficult to find.
  • Heavy reliance on current NBC programming easily found elsewhere.
  • And above all… Peacock came late to the streaming party.

Implications for Programmers

  • The recent production spending boom was driven by streaming leaders and newcomers who were competing to retain or establish market share.
  • Programmers are now returning to their senses: they are taking a harder look at super- high end productions, cancelling shows about which they have doubts, and increasing in their mix the appealing scripted and unscripted programs that are available at mid- and lower price points.

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