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Streaming service Peacock logged healthy third-quarter growth, NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) CEO Jeff Shell says, crediting some moves to shore up its content.

The service added more than 2M paid subscribers for the quarter, to bring that total over 15M, Shell said on CNBC. That’s a gain from Q2, where paid customer base was flat at 13M.

Overall active accounts (Peacock has a free tier with less content, as well as a “Premium Plus” tier) rose more than 3M in the third quarter to top 30M; the active-account figure actually dropped by about 1M in Q2.

Shell pointed to a couple of notable factors in pushing the growth, one being that NBCU reclaimed from Hulu (NYSE:DIS) rights to current seasons of NBC and Bravo shows the day after the air. That means programs including Saturday Night Live, the Real Housewives series, the Chicago drama lineup and The Voice, Shell said.

He also pointed to Peacock sports rights, as well as the strategy to put Universal Pictures films straight to Peacock after home-video windows, including Minions: The Rise of Gru, Jurassic Park Dominion and The Black Phone.

Shell also offered updates on a couple of NBCU stories percolating recently. Amid reports that the company might cut the last hour of prime-time programming, Shell said “I don’t think we’re ready to make any decision on 10 o’clock … but we are looking to reallocate resources.”

And as for the question coming down the road of who ultimately owns Hulu – Comcast (CMCSA) has a third of it, while Disney (DIS) owns the other two-thirds – Shell said “We, like a lot of other people, would want to own Hulu.”

“That’s not what we anticipate happening, but it’s a pretty valuable asset,” he says, conceding that Disney wants to buy Comcast out of Hulu before a 2024 deadline to settle the ownership.


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