It was announced in Comcast’s last quarterly earnings report that the streaming service Peacock has reached 42 million sign-ups. This number is up from the 33 million that was reported in its financial update in late January, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
This uptick in sign-ups can be partially attributed to becoming the exclusive streaming home to WWE Network. Peacock gained exclusive rights to the Network in January before content moved over to the streaming service in March.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that “media revenue rose 3.2 percent to $5.0 billion in the first quarter as higher distribution and other revenue outweighed a 3.4 percent decrease in advertising revenue due to ratings declines, partially offset by higher pricing, sports volume and ad revenue from Peacock.”
Peacock was the first of all of the more general entertainment streaming services to bet big on sports. In addition to WWE content, it also offers live Premier League soccer, auto racing, horse racing, and will be heavily involved in NBC’s coverage of this summer’s Olympics. That event could also drive growth for the platform.
The report also notes that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said viewer interaction with the streaming service has exceeded 1 billion hours watched, which is nearly double what NBC brass had anticipated by this point.
Sportsbooks, Casinos Ask AG To Crackdown on Offshore Books
“Now, the group is getting some backing from members of Congress.”
Offshore sportsbooks are a problem according to the American Gaming Association. The trade group representing American casinos and sportsbooks has sent a letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland asking the Justice Department to crackdown on their unregulated operation.
The AGA initially sent its letter at the end of last month. Now, the group is getting some backing from members of Congress. Twenty-four members sent a letter of their own to Garland encouraging prosecutions.
On top of that, individual members of the trade group have begun speaking to CNBC about the toll offshore books are taking on their business. That includes FanDuel CEO Amy Howe, who estimates as much as $15 billion has been lost to offshore competition that doesn’t have to pay state or local taxes or spend money on lobbying lawmakers.
“It gives them an unfair competitive advantage. They can offer better odds to the consumer,” Howe said.
She added that she wonders how many players even know those books are illegal. That is something AGA CEO Bill Miller says requires action.
“Educating the public that is generally unaware of whether they’re betting on illegal sites or illegal sites is a job for all of us.”
Fifteen billion dollars is no insignificant amount of money. Miller says when that large of a share of the market disappears to illegal operators, it cannot be ignored by those that enforce the law.
“What maybe at one point in time was a relative nuisance, is now becoming a serious threat to the legal, licensed gaming industry.”
Casey Wasserman: Sunday Ticket Deal A “Transition to the Future of Media”
“I do think they go to a tech company or a someone who is solely focused on streaming those games,” Wasserman predicted. “That’s the next generation of monetization of those fans.”
At the annual Sun Valley Conference, an annual media finance conference, Casey Wasserman the founder and CEO of Wasserman, the owners of the largest sports agency, was in attendance.
He joined CNBC’s Power Lunch and was asked about the NFL Sunday Ticket negotiations which are still ongoing. Specifically, he was asked what would it mean if the NFL Sunday Ticket package went to a stream-only buyer like Apple or Amazon.
“I think it’s the begging of a transition to what people think the future of media is going to be like,” Wasserman said. “Sunday Ticket is sort of a precursor to streaming given that it was on DirecTV and subscription. It gives someone like an Apple or Amazon or whoever might buy it, hundreds of games a year to deliver to their fans in a very meaningful way and ways to experiment around those broadcasts”.
Wasserman was also asked if he thinks those rights will go to a streaming service.
“I do think they go to a tech company or a someone who is solely focused on streaming those games,” Wasserman predicted. “That’s the next generation of monetization of those fans. Given the 100+ million fans in the United States of the NFL, a streaming platform that has the ability to direct the focus to those games to those fans is a really powerful platform”.
Wasserman did not think there would be a surge in cord-cutting if more streaming services got into live sports. But he also added that streaming would add revenue to leagues and not detract from. “It’s a really powerful opportunity for the next 10 years. And what sports is, it’s predictable and unique in a world where almost nothing else is”
Blue Wire, a Sports Podcasting Company, Raises $2.5 Million
Blue Wire has made progress stating it is on track to generate $10.3 million of revenue this year which tops last year’s earnings of $4.8 million and $1 million in 2020.
Podcasting is a wonderful platform of expression. The question about podcasting has always been about making it a profitable venture. Blue Wire is seeking to do that as well.
The company, which has 250 podcasts, has just raised $2.5 million of funding. Blue Wire has raised $11.4 million since it’s founding in 2018.
The company is in business with the podcasts of former NFL player Chris Long, former NBA player Richard Jefferson, Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson and Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby.
Blue Wire has made progress stating it is on track to generate $10.3 million of revenue this year which tops last year’s earnings of $4.8 million and $1 million in 2020. Kevin Jones, Blue Wire’s founder, says the company hopes to achieve profitability in 2023 where he estimates $23 million in revenue and 250 million podcast downloads.
“Purse strings are tighter,” Jones remarked. “They were a little looser in previous years, which was great for us. Everyone still has a match out there. If your company is growing fast and you have the metrics, you should be able find a handful of folks, but it’s getting harder. There are a lot more No’s and the process is going to take entrepreneurs longer to raise capital, at least that’s what we’re running into.”
But Jones has heard ‘yes’ before. Wynn Resorts invested $3.5 million in Blue Wire last year in an effort to also promote its WynnBET online sports betting product. Blue Wire has a 1,700-square-foot podcasting studio at the Wynn resort in Las Vegas, where the company tapes at least 35 hours of podcasts per week.