Peacock's Revenue Nearly Doubled in 2023 - How Does it Compare to the Rest?
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The streaming race, which I foolishly called over back in 2022, is far from finished.
2023 was a busy year for the top streamers. HBO Max rebranded and consolidated with discovery+, Disney is eating up Hulu, Paramount+ is growing steadily, and Peacock is just hitting it out of the park.
I rounded up the top streamers, which include Max, Disney+, Peacock, and Paramount+ and compared their downloads and revenue to get a better idea of the trend and to try and figure out what's coming in 2024.
FYI - This analysis is focused on the US because Peacock and Paramount+ aren't available anywhere else.
Our estimates show that in the US, combined revenue of the four rose 35% in 2023, ending the year with $1.8B of net revenue - what they get to keep after Apple and Google take their cut.
While impressive, this number doesn't really tell the full story because not all streams grew equally this year. Quite the opposite!
While Max led in revenue, it's Peacock's revenue that grew the most in 2023 - a whopping 80%. Yes, I looked at the numbers twice to be sure. Can you guess why?
Paramount+ was the second fastest grower with more-than-healthy 55% revenue growth in 2023. Disney+ followed, growing a nice 35% from 2022's numbers and Max comes in last place growing just 16% year over year.
Yet, Max was the highest earner in the US, with $672M of net revenue from the App Store and Google Play. Second place Disney+ was close with $524M of net revenue from the US.
I attribute Peacock's growth to content. Peacock has been hard at work making sure there are more than enough reasons to get its app - from sports events to TV shows and movies, something no other streamer has been too good at in 2023.
Paramount+ is also trying. It isn't as good, but Peacock set the bar pretty high.
HBO and Disney are growing despite their lack of focus on content. Sure, they are releasing more content, but not nearly as much as they had when they first launched and the new content is not nearly as broadly exciting as it used to be.
Here's something fun to consider - if Peacock and Paramount+ combined they'd earn more than DIsney+ and get very close to Max. I don't see that happening anytime soon, but you never know.
The streaming race has moved from the need to get the download to the need to convert a free user to a paying user. Content wont the first time around and I fully expect it to win now again.
Why do I say this?
Let's have a look at new downloads and you'll see.
Downloads are a whole different ballpark where we see some contraction. That means fewer downloads year over year.
Peacock, which leads the way in revenue growth saw fewer downloads in 2023 than in 2022. Yes, fewer downloads yet more revenue, reinforcing my theory that the streaming race has moved to conversion from acquisition. Disney+ is in a similar boat.
Max and Paramount+ saw downloads increase in 2023 growing 45% and 9%, respectively. Our estimates show 32M new downloads for Max. To me that combined with the minimal revenue growth indicates the brand and marketing behind Max are working very well to get new downloads but the lack of content isn't converting those downloads into paying users. Not long-term users.
Disney's and Peacock's downloads slowed down in 2023 dropping to 16M and 19M, respectively. Yes, Peacock is getting more downloads than Disney+ in the US, which I found surprising.
But here's something interesting - although the two saw big download drops of 20% and 30%, respectively, the two earned more indicating their content (and paywalls, sure, but mainly content) is not only driving more upgrades but is also retaining users longer.
Thinking out loud, it makes sense that TV content would have stronger retention than movies, especially blockbusters, because it's continuous. Paramount+ has that as does Peacock. Max has that too but not enough, which is probably why it merged with discovery+ back in May and likely why Disney+ is merging with Hulu.
I'm not expecting any surprises in this arena this year - just growth. Let's see if that's the case.
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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.