‘The Office’ Peacock Viewing Is Ahead Of Netflix Pace, NBCU Chief Jeff Shell Says, With Service Off To “Promising” Start

The Office is being more actively streamed on Peacock than it was on Netflix, according to NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell.

Speaking during Comcast’s fourth-quarter earnings call, Shell did not elaborate on his assessment with any specific data. But he cited the sitcom, which NBCU brought back into the fold in a $500 million licensing deal, as proof that the company’s commitment to streaming will bear fruit over time.

“We’re seeing people who are watching The Office on Peacock are watching lots of our other comedies,” Shell said. “It’s really driving Parks & Recreation and really driving Brooklyn Nine-Nine, amongst others. So, it’s kind of an ecosystem.” He said the dynamics are “like broadcast, where we can cross-promote people into different things. That certainly seems to be working.”

In 2020, when The Office was wrapping its run on Netflix, it was far and away the most-streamed show in the U.S., according to Nielsen, with 57.1 billion total minutes of viewing.

Comcast said Peacock had attracted 33 million sign-ups as of December 31 and brought in $100 million in revenue during the fourth quarter. Losses are estimated to be $2 billion for the 2020 and 2021, CFO Mike Cavanagh said, matching projections at launch. While the subscription tier costs $5 a month for subscribers whose pay-TV or broadband video plans don’t include it at no cost, Peacock remains primarily an advertising play, Shell emphasized.

No other metrics were revealed during the call, but the NBCU boss said it is “significantly” exceeding internal forecasts for engagement, view time and other indicators. Given Peacock only launched nationally last summer, Shell said, “we’re at the very beginning of this business but we’re very confident that the business model is the right business model. … Its steady growth is very promising for us.”

Starting this year, Cavanagh announced during the call, will combine the results of broadcast, cable and Peacock into a single set of financials.

Shell said the WWE, whose streaming network is being absorbed into Peacock, is a “perfect property for us.”


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