With Comcast and NBC looking to up content spend with an eye on future goals, it has also pushed back its ‘breakeven’ date. It’s a risk, but it could be a good one, given the current focus on content spending. Entertainment lawyer Brandon Blake breaks down the plan further for us.
Increased Content Spend
Part of the announcement of their Q4 results last week was the reveal that they plan to double content spending for Peacock, a figure that will rise to $3B at first, leveling out at $5B over the next few years.
This is part of a double-pronged revenue approach they intend to pursue. Currently, they have 9 million paid subscribers, out of 24.5 million monthly active accounts. Driving further subscriber growth is the best path to long-term growth for the service. Critics have already pushed for a similar strategy, seeing their limited willingness to spend (at least in comparison to larger streaming entities) as a significant drag on their signup and subscriber growth. While trying to turn a profit fast is admirable, it’s not always the best path to long-term success
So this new announcement suggests that Peacock has provided enough early performance to soothe management into looking for a bigger subscription push. At least if you’re feeling optimistic. It’s as possible to see it as a sign they need to desperately narrow the subscription gap to stay relevant and they’ve finally realized it. But why opt negative? There’s little point in comparing Peacock to industry giants like Disney+ and Netflix.
Currently, however, Lionsgate’s Starz has double the subscriber number, and that’s a more realistic figure as a target. They also want to boost their advertising-subsidized tier substantially by the end of the year.
This revenue is to be diverted, unsurprisingly, from their linear programming spending as well as an incremental capital injection over time.
It does mean that they are predicting growing losses for 2022 and 2023, with lowered earnings forecasts for 2022. Some investors have seen this as a bad time for such decisive commitments, while others think it’s the path to long-term growth. Either way, Blake & Wang P.A will keep you in the loop.