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How NBCUniversal aims to drive Peacock subs during Olympics

Prophet Partner Eunice Shin joins Yahoo Finance’s Akiko Fujita and Zack Guzman to discuss coverage of the Olympics Games 2021, as NBCUniversal aims to boost Peacock subs by streaming the games on the platform.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, the Tokyo Olympics are officially underway now, with the opening ceremony kicking off at 7:00 AM Eastern Time this morning. The Summer Olympic Games have been a big showcase for NBCUniversal and their television side for many, many years, but this year, their parent company, Comcast, looking to get a lot of eyes on their Peacock streaming service, and hoping to capitalize on the Olympics.

Let's bring in our guest, Eunice Shin, Prophet Partner and Head of Media, Entertainment, and Direct-to-Consumer Practices. Eunice, it's great to talk to you today. Give me a sense of how big of a lift do you think Peacock is likely to get strictly from the Olympics, especially given that there seems like there's not as much excitement. There's a lot of concern about whether, in fact, the next two weeks will be able to be carried out because of the concerns around COVID.

EUNICE SHIN: Right. Absolutely think it's a great opportunity for Comcast, NBCUniversal, and certainly Peacock. We're going to see a lot of ads for Peacock throughout the Olympics coverage. But what's really important is that there's a change in generations and how they consume content.

And especially for those that are dominated by digital media, they don't have the patience nor the interest to sit through a three-hour opening ceremony, or a two-hour meet with only 30 seconds of a race. So for Peacock, for them to be able to have short takes, short bites of content that's easily searchable and easily discoverable will be key to be able to make that sticky for Peacock, for people to be able to go to Peacock to be able to find that content.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, for Comcast in general, I mean, we were talking about kind of the way that they were able to salvage these games, and how important it is for the company, you know, as they paid a lot of money for the rights. But you think about what it means for Peacock specifically, you know, if you see some of the big stars the Olympics go down due to the COVID testing, you know, it might not impact sales overall.

But particularly for the Peacock launch and how they're trying to get people on that platform, I suppose it would only take a few stars that would have to get-- you know, if they test positive, could be a big problem for Peacock. I mean, how would that be measured? What would you see there in terms of the dings if you do see maybe some stars get taken out of the competition?

EUNICE SHIN: Yeah, no, certainly that would impact any type of Olympics coverage here in the United States, right, if it's-- or if it's local, or any other type of local content, where you have your biggest stars not there, not driving the content. Look, the Olympics content is probably the gold standard in all the world. It's the most coveted content by any streamer, by any network, and certainly by any brands or advertisers. It's the most coveted type of content. So I think what the magic and what they really need to figure out is what is that type of content that's going to resonate with audiences, and be able to push that.

The Olympics is going to bring people into the Peacock store. Right? And then it's up to Peacock to really figure out how do they bring in the content and serve up the next forms of content that's going to be resonant and relevant so that it becomes sticky and it gives a reason for people to come back to Peacock.

And it's not just about the Olympics, right? The Olympics is a great brand awareness tactic, but it's about bringing people into Peacock and making sure that they understand that it's not just about the Olympics coverage, but it's about a lot of other really great titles that they have to offer. That's a challenge, right? That's the goal that the Peacock team needs to be able to achieve.

AKIKO FUJITA: When you say that the Olympics, both for advertisers, from a content perspective, is the most coveted in terms of the contract, is that still the case? I know that that's been highly coveted for many, many years, but you know, some would argue that recent controversies that have come up, not just from the Tokyo Olympics, but the more recent Olympic Games have taken the shine off the attraction of the Olympics to start with.

EUNICE SHIN: Right. No, I absolutely believe that they need to make an adjustment to the way that people consume content. Right? So even before this Olympics, a lot of the content was really hard to find on digital. Right? You'd have to watch the broadcast, or you'd see something repeat in social media, and it was really difficult to find and to navigate.

I think that's really up to Peacock to help make it easily digestible. I don't think it's content that doesn't resonate with millennials and Gen Z, it's just in the way that it's formatted and served up. So it really needs to be in that short bites of content, and that it really needs to be easily accessible and searchable. If you can't find it easily with one quick Google search, people are going to give up.


EUNICE SHIN: --TLDL world that we live in.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah. People ain't got time for that, I believe is the saying. And when--


ZACK GUZMAN: --you think about the pricing structure here for Peacock, too, obviously, just this past weekend, I was on there watching "Office" episodes through the ad-supported version of Peacock. You don't necessarily need to pay. You will need to pay if you get further along in watching "The Office" and you hit season six, like I did, and a black hole.

But when you look at maybe how it differentiates from the streaming competitors out there, we showed the number, 42 million sign-ups as of the last update in late April. I mean, what are you expecting to see as a successful measure of maybe converting free streamers to maybe the paid version and that overall number once we move farther and farther away post-Olympics?

EUNICE SHIN: Right. We want to see the number of subscribers go up. Right? And even if it's not paid subscription, it's the number of people who are signing up and logging in that we want to see that number drastically increase. I don't think you're going to see a ton of people convert over to subscription paid model until they become a little bit more engaged with the app, and that, like you said for your example, you got into "The Office," and it made it to a point where you were willing to pay for the premium service to get rid of those ads.

So that needs to happen. And so the goal here is to get as many people logged in as possible and signed up for the service so that they have those email addresses and they can market appropriately to them. And that customer acquisition number is huge. And it's really up to Peacock to figure out how you take those people who've logged in and retain them over time.

AKIKO FUJITA: Eunice Shin, Prophet Partner and Head of Media, Entertainment, and Direct-to-Consumer Practices, it's good to talk to you today. Thanks so much for the time.