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Jan. 22, 2020, 11:20 a.m. EST

Comcast earnings expected to focus on Peacock streaming service due in April

Service will include hits including ‘30 Rock’ and ‘Law and Order: SVU’

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By Jon Swartz


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Comcast Corp.’s Peacock is the latest entrant in the overcrowded video-streaming field. It begins service in April.

The latest video-streaming entrant from Comcast Corp., due in April, is likely to be the focus of attention when it announces fourth-quarter results Thursday after markets close.

Comcast’s /zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite CMCSA +0.11%   Peacock service boasts of content from NBCUniversal’s vast library of shows (“30 Rock” and “Law and Order: SUV”), movies (“Lost in Translation” and “Jurassic Park”) original programming (“Dr. Death” with Alec Baldwin), and network news and sports. It will also reboot shows such as “Saved By the Bell” and ”Battlestar Galactica.”

The service is initially focused on the U.S. market with three tiers: a free, ad-supported service with 7,500 hours of content; a $4.99-per-month option with 15,000 hours of content, that is free for Xfinity customers; and a $9.99-per-month premium service that is ad free. Comcast expects to reach 30 million to 35 million active accounts by 2024; by comparison, market leader Netflix has 167 million subscribers.

See also: Comcast announces Peacock streaming service with free, subscription options

Whether that is enough to woo consumers in an overcrowded field is another matter. Peacock joins a formidable group of media heavyweights that include Netflix Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX -0.05% , Apple Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -1.03%  Apple TV+, Walt Disney Co.’s /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -0.66%  Disney+, Amazon.com Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN -0.79%  Amazon Prime Video, and others. AT&T Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite T +0.44%  is expected to unveil HBO Max in May.

“While we think NBCU has a good amount of quality content, the clip roll at the beginning of the presentation didn’t seem as compelling (to us, anyway) as what we saw from either Disney or Warner/HBO during their respective analyst presentations,” Cowen analyst Gregory Williams said in a Jan. 16 note. “This may speak to the decision to emphasize the free aspect, though we view it as another step in what we see as the ongoing devaluation of content aggregation across the industry.”

Still, Citi analyst Michael Rollins believes the prospect of mountains of free content “should appeal to a broad audience.”

What to expect

Earnings: Of the 20 analysts surveyed by FactSet, Comcast on average is expected to post earnings of 68 cents a share, down from the 70 cents a share expected at the beginning of the quarter.

Estimize, which crowdsources estimates from buy and sell-side analysts, fund managers, academics and others, is forecasting EPS of 76 cents, based on 47 estimates.

Revenue: Wall Street expects revenue of $28.2 billion from Comcast, according to 28 analysts polled by FactSet. Comcast reported revenue of $27.8 billion during last year’s fourth quarter, resulting in net income of $2.5 billion, or earnings of 55 cents per share.

Estimize is forecasting revenue of $28.2 billion, based on 45 estimates.

Of the 35 analysts who cover Comcast, 29 have buy or overweight ratings, 6 have hold ratings, and none have a sell rating, with an average price target of $51.55, according to FactSet data.

Stock movement: Comcast shares are up 30% over the last 12 months, compared to a gain of about 24% for the broader S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.38% .

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$ 46.02
+0.05 +0.11%
Volume: 12.04M
Feb. 20, 2020 4:15p
P/E Ratio
16.25
Dividend Yield
2.00%
Market Cap
$209.30 billion
Rev. per Employee
$513,625
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/zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 386.00
-0.19 -0.05%
Volume: 4.08M
Feb. 20, 2020 4:15p
P/E Ratio
93.38
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$169.46 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.22M
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/zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 320.30
-3.32 -1.03%
Volume: 25.14M
Feb. 20, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
25.30
Dividend Yield
0.96%
Market Cap
$1415.99 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.98M
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/zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 140.37
-0.93 -0.66%
Volume: 5.98M
Feb. 20, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
22.43
Dividend Yield
1.25%
Market Cap
$255.11 billion
Rev. per Employee
$295,532
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/zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 2,153.10
-17.12 -0.79%
Volume: 3.13M
Feb. 20, 2020 4:15p
P/E Ratio
93.54
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1080.36 billion
Rev. per Employee
$359,671
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/zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 38.61
+0.17 +0.44%
Volume: 27.18M
Feb. 20, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
20.33
Dividend Yield
5.39%
Market Cap
$278.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
$637,332
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,373.23
-12.92 -0.38%
Volume: 2.03B
Feb. 20, 2020 5:10p
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Jon Swartz is a senior reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco, covering many of the biggest players in tech, including Netflix, Facebook and Google. Jon has covered technology for more than 20 years, and previously worked for Barron's and USA Today. Follow him on Twitter @jswartz.

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