Look Peacock 14m Maussmithbloomberg: Peacock, the social news aggregator site, is approaching its second anniversary this month. It has 14 million monthly active users and 20% of them pay for the premium subscription service. The company’s business model has shifted toward a mix of advertising and subscriptions as it seeks to reach users in the United States with an international expansion plan that could take years to complete. In January 2017, the company will add international languages to the already supported English, German and Spanish to cater to the non-English speaking part of their audience. It also plans to start selling advertising for the first time in Europe, a region where it has not yet made a profit.
Its big selling point is that the company’s editors curate what people see in the feeds of their friends and colleagues around the world. Between newsrooms based in New York, Washington DC, London and Melbourne, and technology teams in Sydney and San Francisco, Peacock has more than 200 people working to ensure that aggregated content produces useful information.
Since the launch of Peacock a year ago, the company has had to change from an “insider” site for hookups between users to its current position as a source of information for most people. It is already profitable, according to CEO Peter Koechley, who founded it in San Francisco last year. He predicts the company could turn a profit this year and pondered how it will spend its windfall. “I would probably open up to a world of joy like traveling in slightly different directions.
Peacock is an example of what some call “news industry 2.0” – new social networks powered by aggregators that bring together local and global news in a way that traditional media organizations like newspapers or TV channels didn’t have to worry about. Peacock’s investors include Lerer Ventures, which also invested in Buzzfeed, and Yuri Milner, a Russian Internet mogul who is an investor in Facebook and Zynga.
Peacock has some of the most detailed news consumption data around. From their active users, they see what people are reading and when they stop reading stories. Even though people spend a lot of time on the web, they don’t click on it as much as websites would like. “In aggregate, people read three to four stories per visit,” Koechley said. “People may want to check in twice a day.”