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NBC's Peacock streaming service hits 10 million sign-ups

The service racks up 10 million accounts, following its limited rollout in April and its full launch in July. That's the same number Disney Plus got in about 24 hours.

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Peacock launched nationwide in the US on July 15. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Peacock, the streaming service that Comcast's NBCUniversal launched two weeks ago in the US, has signed up 10 million accounts, Comcast said Thursday. That includes people who registered with Peacock when it rolled out just to Comcast pay TV customers in April as well as new members who've signed up since its national launch July 15. 

By comparison, Disney Plus reported more than 10 million sign-ups in little more than 24 hours when it launched in November. HBO Max -- the premium cable network's newer, bigger app that rolled out at the end of May -- signed up 4.1 million accounts in its first month. 

Comcast said Peacock's 10 million milestone was more than it foresaw. 

"Across the board, we're better than expectations," Jeff Shell, the CEO of NBCUniversal, said Thursday during a conference call to discuss Comcast's second-quarter earnings. "We didn't expect this many sign-ups, we didn't expect people to come back as frequently as they're coming back and we didn't expect people to watch as long as they're watching once they come back."

As a metric, sign-ups means people who have registered with the service, regardless of whether they're still using it. 

Competing with the likes of Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max, Peacock was the last big new service to roll out in the so-called streaming wars, when a flood of services spilled out from tech and media giants over a roughly nine-month period. More than just jockeying among megacorporations, these battles not only affect who shapes the future of television but also how many services you'll have to use -- and, often, pay for -- to watch your favorite shows. 

Peacock is unique among the new crop of competitors in offering a free tier, which lets anyone in the US watch about two-thirds of the catalog with advertising. It also had paid memberships: You can unlock the full library of shows and movies for a price for $4.99 a month plus ads, and a $9.99-a-month upgrade makes the service mostly ad-free. 

Disney Plus is $7 a month, and HBO Max is $15. Neither has advertising. 

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