Comcast unveiled its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings on Thursday (January 27), reporting revenue of US$30.3 billion in Q4, an increase of 9.5%. Meanwhile, revenue for NBCUniversal, which includes the streaming service Peacock, rose 25.6% to $9.3 billion in the quarter.
For the first time since its Q2 2021 report, the media giant also revealed data on Peacock subscribers. By the end of 2021, monthly active streaming accounts in the U.S. hit 24.5 million across all tiers. Comcast chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts (pictured) said during the company’s earnings call that the streamer’s paid premium tier now has more than 9 million subscribers, with another 7 million coming through bundled offerings on Comcast’s platforms as well as other TV distributors. Roberts said they expect “strong conversion” of this cohort into paid subscribers over time.
“The most valuable end stage for Peacock is to have two revenue streams,” Roberts said. He also promised to “drive further growth in paid subscribers, which we believe is the right path to creating long-term value.”
Additionally, Comcast’s full-year revenue topped $116 billion, up 12.4% from the previous year, while full-year revenue for NBCUniversal, which is divided into media, studios and theme parks divisions, rose 26.1% to $34.3 billion.
Full-year revenue from NBCUniversal’s media segment rose 20.3% from the previous year to $22.8 billion. Not including $1.8 billion of revenue associated with the broadcast of the Tokyo Olympics in Q3 of 2021, revenue increased 11%. Higher operating expenses were driven mostly by higher programming and production expenses, reflecting higher sports programming costs from the Olympics, higher programming costs at Peacock, and a rise in the number of other sporting events compared to 2020, when sports were postponed due to the pandemic.
On the cable side, revenue was up 4.5% to $16.4 billion in Q4, driven by increases in broadband, business services, wireless, and other revenue. On a full-year basis, cable revenue was up 7.1% to $64.3 billion from 2020, when results were negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Revenue for Comcast-owned Sky, meanwhile, fell 2.4% to $5.1 billion in Q4, primarily reflecting lower content revenue and direct-to-consumer revenue. For the full year, Sky revenue increased 9.1% from 2020 to $20.3 billion.
“Our top priority is increasing the capacity of our network in the U.S. and further improving our world-class broadband experience. We are producing more of the premium content that our viewers love and continue to provide them with multiple ways to access it, including on Peacock,” said Roberts in a release. “Our confidence in the future is reflected in today’s announcement that we are increasing the dividend for the 14th consecutive year.”