Universal Studios’ spinoff from Despicable Me as well as Jurassic World and Straight Outta Compton brought smiles to a lot of Comcast executives’ faces in Q3, as the movie hits contributed to stronger than expected earnings for the parent company.
Comcast generated $2.0 billion in net income, down 23% vs the period last year, on revenues of $18.67 billion, up 11.2%. (Last year included a one time income tax adjustment that added $724 million.) Analysts expected revenues of $18.03 billion. Adjusted earnings per share came in at 80 cents, matching expectations.
NBCUniversal’s operating cash flow came in at $1.66 billion, up 17%, on revenues of $7.15 billion, up 20.8%
In addition to the movie hits, NBCU saw “the highest summer attendance ever at our theme parks” while NBC was the summer’s top-rated broadcast network, CEO Brian Roberts says. “These outstanding results from our unique portfolio of complementary businesses underscore our confidence that we are well positioned to compete, continue our strong performance and drive shareholder value.”
With the addition of NASCAR at sports network NBCSN, the cable networks saw a 7% lift in revenues to $2.41 billion. But the higher content cost contributed to a 3.9% drop in cash flow to $835 million. Ad sales for the unit increased 2.0%.
The NBC-led Broadcast Television unit fared better with revenues up 11.3% to $1.97 billion and cash flow up 6.1% to $150 million. Comcast says ad sales increased 2.8% while content licensing improved 33.5%.
Filmed Entertainment was a star of Q3 with a 64% jump in revenues to $1.95 billion, and a nearly 150% leap in cash flow to $376 million. But Universal also benefited from easy comparisons with last year when its releases were led by Lucy, The Purge: Anarchy, and The Boxtrolls.
Meanwhile theme park attractions including Orlando’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley and Hollywood’s Fast and Furious: Supercharged helped to propel strong results for the business. Revenues were up 14.1% to $896 million with cash flow up 14.1% to $458 million.
For the parent company, entertainment takes second place to its cable operations, where cash flow was up 6.4% to $4.75 billion on revenues of $11.74 billion, up 6.3%.
Comcast lost 48,000 video customers, for a total of 22.26 million — it says that’s the best Q3 result in nine years. But it added 320,000 broadband subscribers, bringing that number up to 22.87 million.