NBCU Q2 Earnings: Peacock's Catalog Shines but Originals are Lackluster

29 July, 2021

As Peacock’s Olympic coverage debuts a year later than originally scheduled, we analyzed its performance in the US streaming market, showing relatively strong demand for the Peacock catalog, but tepid demand for Peacock Originals.

Peacock’s US share of demand for on-platform content in Q2 2021 was 8.3% - putting it in fifth place overall, just above Paramount+ (7.9%) and slightly behind HBO Max (9.8%). The streamer is successfully leveraging its large library of legacy content and shows still airing on linear TV.  

Q2 platform catalog share.png

However, highly in-demand exclusive content, particularly platform originals, are generally what drive new subscribers to sign up for a service. Here Peacock falls short, accounting for just 1.4% of the US digital original demand share. The streamer could be playing a risky game by relying too heavily on its large non-exclusive library of content to draw subscribers in.

One important consideration is Peacock's exclusive rights to Olympics coverage - this could be its golden ticket. A extremely high profile and much desired event like the Olympics exclusively on Peacock could make up for a lack of highly in-demand original content and serve to draw new subscribers in. Once new subscribers come to the platform they will find a robust catalog of highly in-demand library content to keep them around.


Looking at the most in-demand series that were available on Peacock in the past quarter (above) it is clear that this platform's strength comes from its linear original offerings, mostly former and current NBC shows. In particular, Saturday Night Live was in a league of its own with 56 times the average series demand for the quarter. The second most in-demand show available on Peacock this quarter was The Voice, far behind SNL with only 30x the demand of the average series.


The most in-demand original from Peacock in Q2 2021 was Curious George, which averaged 9.9x the average series demand in the US this quarter. Peacock's originals are moving in the right direction - Girls5eva and Rutherford Falls both reached post-release demand peaks higher than any other Peacock original so far this year when they dropped this quarter. However, original content from this platform still has yet to find success comparable to other streamers. We are all still waiting for a must-watch hit series to come from Peacock.


Comparing Peacock's original content to the top original series from other streamers, it is clear that the platform has yet to create a tentpole original that captures as much audience attention as its competitors' top series. Peacock's top two originals this quarter, Curious George (9.9x) and Rutherford Falls (8.3x), had less demand this quarter than even the top original from the niche, horror focused streamer Shudder, whose original series Creepshow had 10.5 times the average series demand.

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