Peacock Gets a Bump in Users, Even as NBC's Olympics Viewership Declines
Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Peacock Gets a Bump in Users, Even as NBC's Olympics Viewership Declines

Cynics are having a field day with the tepid audience that watched Friday's Olympics opening ceremony on NBC.

The data show a 36% decline from the 2016 Games across all NBC's platforms, which include its linear TV channel, Peacock and NBC Sports digital.

On the other hand, the network said Saturday brought Peacock record viewership.

NBCUniversal and its parent company Comcast own the Games' U.S. media rights through 2032. They expected the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics to provide a lift to Peacock, their recent entrant into the streaming wars.

The pandemic scuppered that plan, and Peacock has struggled to achieve traction. But the rescheduled Games provided the network a new opportunity to try to make up some ground in the streaming wars. Is it too late?

Actually, some analysts say, it's too early to tell.

"Some people are jumping to conclusions a little too quick here," said media analyst Dan Rayburn.

Peacock is showcasing a few hours of live Olympics content per day, in addition to a curated mix of highlights, recaps and analysis.

"We're gonna see a huge flurry of usage and signups, absolutely," Rayburn said. "But the more important question to ask is, 'What is the engagement going to be once the Olympics are gone?"

The longer-term impact of the Olympics on Peacock's competitiveness, in other words, is less about how many people watch the event, and more about how many of them stick around.

Beginning to answer that question will require waiting for Comcast's future earnings calls. Its third-quarter results will likely come in September and its fourth-quarter results will follow in early 2022.

Streaming companies have been reluctant to share much coveted performance data. The information they do share should be taken with a grain of salt, analysts say, as the companies can cherry-pick from their oceans of data to spin up a story that makes them look good.

NBC has been quick to report Peacock's record-breaking Saturday, but hasn't shared any specific numbers on Peacock.

One metric streamers will be unlikely to avoid sharing, eventually, is whether they achieve profitability on the timelines they've publicized. Peacock head Matthew Strauss told investors in January last year he expects the service to break even by the end of 2024.

In April, Comcast reported Peacock has had about 42 million sign-ups, one-third of whom use the service monthly. For comparison, Netflix reported 209 million paying subscribers in its most recent earnings call, and Disney reported over 103 million for Disney Plus.

A limited version of Peacock is available for free with ads. The full, ad-supported version costs $5 per month and the ad-free version is $10 per month. Comcast has not provided a breakdown of its users across those tiers.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Pejman Nozad, a founding managing partner at Pear VC, joins this episode of LA Venture to discuss Pear VC's current initiatives, including its accelerator and fellowships. He's seen as one of the most successful angel investors in the area, and for good reason: he has made more than 300 investments in his lifetime.

Read more Show less
Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Image by Candice Navi

In a year upended by crisis after crisis — the ongoing pandemic, the climate emergency, an insurrection in the capital — tech startup financing is not just bouncing back but altogether booming, and Los Angeles-based angel investors are a big part of that equation.

Angels usually take a stake in an emerging business using their own funds, before institutional investors are willing to throw more substantial resources behind an idea. Often, they start off as entrepreneurs or engineers themselves.

Read more Show less
Harri Weber

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely via Signal: +1 917 434 4978.

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to