We should add Ted 2 and Pitch Perfect to the barrage of films that contributed to the 92.7% revenue increase at Universal Studios in Q2 — helping parent Comcast to beat the Street’s revenue expectations and match for earnings.
The cable giant generated $2.14 billion in net income, up 7.3% vs the period last year, on revenues of $18.74 billion, up 11.3%. Analysts expected the top line to come in at $18.14 billion. Earnings at 84 cents a share were on target.
The numbers “demonstrate the strength and momentum we are seeing across our businesses,” CEO Brian Roberts says. NBCUNiversal “had an exceptional quarter, led by the record-breaking box office performances…and continued strong momentum in our theme parks.” He adds that the company’s “teams are executing incredibly well across our strong and diversified portfolio.”
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At NBCU, the largest unit — cable networks — had less to cheer about. Revenues fell 1.0% to $2.45 billion and operating cash flow declined 4.6% to $914 million. Much of that was due to a slip in content licensing. But ad sales were down 3%, offset by a 5.6% increase in the payments NBCU collects from cable, satellite and other distributors.
The NBC broadcast network and related operations fared slightly better, with revenues off 0.2% to $1.81 billion and operating cash flow down 3.7% to $231 million. What the company calls a “slight increase” in ad revenues and retransmission consent fees was offset by lower content licensing, and operation expenses — even though programming costs fell due to “the timing of the airing” of some prime time shows.
Filmed Entertainment came to NBCU’s rescue with the 92.7% jump in revenues to $2.27 billion, and a 116.6% increase in operating cash flow to $422 million.
Theme Parks continued to perform, helped by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley in Orlando. Revenues were up 25.7% to $773 million with operating cash flow increasing 44.9% to $354 million. The company attributes the increases to higher attendance and per capita spending.
Investors may breathe a sigh of relief about the numbers at Comcast’s core business, its cable systems. Although they lost 69,000 video customers — for a total of 22.3 million — that’s about half the damage that analysts anticipated, and half the loss cable saw in the same quarter last year. With rate hikes and service upselling, video revenues increased 3.7% to $5.43 billion.
Meanwhile Comcast added 180,000 broadband customers, for a total of 22.5 million. Revenues for this service increased 10.0% to $3.10 billion
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