NBCUniversal reports higher Peacock losses as it shows CEO door

by The Insights

Peacock’s losses continue to widen this quarter, NBCUniversal’s parent company, Comcast, reported Thursday, just days after the company announced that Jeff Shell’s time as CEO of NBCU was up. Peacock posted losses of $704 million in the first quarter of 2023, a significant jump from $456 million in the same period a year ago.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, Peacock recorded an adjusted EBITDA loss of $978 million. The company previously warned shareholders that it expects losses to peak at around $3 billion this year.

However, Peacock also saw subscriber growth, adding two million paid subscribers to bring the total to 22 million, up from 20 million in the previous quarter – a significant increase from the previous year when it had 13 million paying subscribers.

Peacock saw its revenue jump 45% to $685 million.

Comcast announced Monday that Shell is leaving the company, effective immediately, following an investigation into a complaint about an inappropriate relationship at the company. In the interim, Comcast Chairman Mike Cavanagh will assume Shell’s duties.

“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal. I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret. I am truly sorry for letting my colleagues down at Comcast and of NBCUniversal, they are the most talented people in the industry and the opportunity to work with them over the past 19 years has been a privilege,” Shell said in a statement.

Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts made the announcement during Thursday’s earnings call.

“Let me acknowledge the news you all saw earlier this week. Obviously a tough time. But we are so lucky to have a fabulous, permanent leadership team at NBCUniversal,” Roberts said. also fortunate to have Mike Cavanaugh leading NBCUniversal while remaining chairman.”

The subscriber gain is a small victory for the streamer as its biggest rival Disney+ plunged in subscriber numbers for the first time, losing 2.4 million global subscribers to take the total to 161.8 million .

Netflix missed analysts’ expectations in its first-quarter results, reporting only 1.75 million subscriber additions versus an estimated 2.3 million.

“We delivered strong results in the first quarter as our team executed exceptionally well,” Roberts wrote in today’s letter to shareholders. “We increased Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EPS and generated a significant amount of free cash flow. We have accomplished all of this while continuing to invest in future growth initiatives. Additionally, and most importantly, we delivered solid revenue growth in our high-margin connectivity business while growing our Peacock subscribers by more than 60% year-over-year.

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