It is no secret that building up an attractive library of movies and TV shows for a streaming service is expensive. It took Netflix years to do it. The problem is that 2022 made Wall Street much less bullish on the “get subscribers at all cost” mentality. Part of that has to do with the fact that the box office is improving. Another part is that the streaming landscape is crowded and getting to profitability is more challenging than ever. Whatever the case, the notion of going all-in on streaming may no longer be the recipe for success it was perceived to be in 2020 and 2021.
For Peacock, the numbers just don’t seem to add up. Losses of that size against subscriber numbers that pale in comparison to the competition are hard to justify. And, in reality, few (if any) of the streamer’s original shows or movies are breaking through in the way that Netflix’s “Wednesday” or Prime Video’s “The Boys” have. That is very likely why they sacrificed all-but-guaranteed millions at the box office by releasing “Halloween Ends” on Peacock the same day it went to theaters. How much did that help to juice subscribers? It’s tough to say, but they were feeding an enterprise losing billions rather than adding more to the profits generated by the slasher sequel theatrically.
With 20 million subscribers paying, at best, between $4.99 and $9.99 per month, with many others paying less on extended trials or annual deals, the numbers are unkind. Even if every single one of those paying subscribers were paying $9.99 per month, which they aren’t, that only gets you to a little less than $2.4 billion per year — far less than the current, reported losses. The math is very much not in Comcast’s favor here.