Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says that NBCUniversal came in “as anticipated” while he remains “very positive” — which tells you that folks in Philadelphia aren’t pleased with the results for the entertainment unit. But the cable operations saved the day. Comcast reported net income of $1.6B, +19.5% vs the period last year, on revenues of $15.2B, +6.1%. Revenues matched analysts’ expectations while earnings, at 50 cents a share, topped forecasts for 48 cents. Roberts had already warned that the NBCUniversal results would be weak in a quarter that included a big disappointment with the film Battleship and ratings weakness at NBC. Revenues for the entire unit were -0.8% to $5.5B while its operating cash flow fell 15.4% to $982M. The top line for the Cable Networks was +3.6% to $2.3B which Comcast attributes to a 6.8% increase in fees from pay TV distributors with ad sales +4.1%. Still, the unit’s operating cash flow fell 6.8% to $788M due to higher programming costs. Revenues for the NBC broadcast network dropped 9.1% to $1.5B, while operating cash flow was +2.7% to $190 million due to improvements at the O&O stations. Meanwhile, Universal Studios’ revenue fell 1.8% to $1.2B — but with a cash flow loss of $83M vs. a profit last year of $27M — which the company says was “primarily driven by the underperformance of Battleship.” Theme parks had a better story to tell, though, with revenues +3.4% to $539M and cash flow +4.2% to $235M.
The core cable business was much stronger. Robust sales of broadband services propelled a revenue increase of 6.0% to $9.9B and operating cash flow +5.5% to $4.1B. Subscription numbers also slightly beat expectations. Comcast ended up with 22.1M video customers, a loss of 176,000 vs last year. The cable and entertainment operations are “working well together to launch innovative products and experiences – and these efforts are being showcased now as we utilize all of our content and technology platforms to deliver the most comprehensive Olympics coverage ever,” Roberts says.