NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said Peacock has more than 18 million paid subscribers as of today, a nice bump from the 15 million it announced for the quarter ended Sept. 30, driven by programming migrated from Hulu, sports and Universal movies.
He threw down the gauntlet to a Disney company currently in a bit of disarray, saying Universal now rivals Disney in animation, a key for IP that drives theme parks, among others things. In a Q&A today at the UBS media conference, he said he also said he anticipates a big chunk of money coming in from Disney to buy in the rest of Hulu.
“If you had gone back ten years and said Disney is ever going to be challenged in animation, everyone would have said that is impossible,” said Shell. Now “I honestly think that… our animation rivals if not surpasses Disney.”
On Hulu, “We have a put, they have a call,” he said, on the 33% of Hulu owned by NBCU parent Comcast with the process starting at the end of 2023, resolving in early 2024. Disney currently has operational control. “It’s worth a lot of money and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us us a big check.”