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NBCU makes new gains in Peacock, but the ad market is getting worse

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NBCUniversal’s CEO said the company had seen new subscription growth in streaming center Peacock though he noted that the advertising market was “getting worse” and prepared investors for a more challenging fourth quarter.

Speaking at UBS’ investor conference, NBCU CEO Jeff Shell said Peacock now has more than 18 million subscribers, up from 15 million previously disclosed. He cited the recent decision to pull some NBCCU content rights from Hulu, which the company jointly owns with Walt Disney, as a driver for the business.

But Shell has noticed headwinds looming. He said the threat of a recession in the United States had spurred the market’s new caution, and noted that ad spending was “definitely getting worse”, though he noted that NBCU’s ad sales were still expected to rise at a single-digit percentage rate.

The CEO made a case for NBCU to give more credit to its movie and theme park businesses. “I honestly think we’re not only challenging Disney in animation, but I’m going to take over our animation business,” Shell said, citing NBCU’s Lighting and DreamWorks divisions.

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