Along with the news of its game-changing bid for Sky, Comcast’s first-quarter results beat estimates with strength across divisions, highlighted by the addition of nearly 400,000 broadband subscribers and broadcast TV revenue booming 58%.
Total revenue revenue increased nearly 11% to $22.79 billion, edging the Thomson/Reuters analyst consensus of $22.74 billion. Earnings per share of 62 cents, on an adjusted basis, beat estimates of 59 cents.
One problem area remains video subscriber losses, a metric that has become the bane of all pay-TV operators of late. Comcast lost 96,000 subscribers in the quarter, compared with a gain of 42,000 last year. Analysts had expected losses in the range of 75,000. The video side was counter-balanced by a gain of 370,000 broadband subscribers.
Skies were much more blue at NBCUniversal, especially with its historic February combo of the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, which together generated $1.6 billion in revenue. Revenue at NBCU increased 21.3% to $9.5 billion in the quarter, with positive momentum on the TV side offset by a decline at Universal Pictures, which had fewer releases in the period.
Broadcast TV, long a whipping post, became a beacon of optimism in the period. Broadcast revenue soared 58.3% to $3.5 billion in the quarter. Even excluding the $423 million in Super Bowl revenue and $770 million from the PyeongChang Olympics, broadcast revenue was up 4%.
Film revenue was down 16% to $1.6 billion in the quarter, mostly due to a 35% plunge in theatrical revenue. Last year’s first quarter had more films in the marketplace, the company noted, though this year’s titles such as Fifty Shades Freed, Pacific Rim Uprising, Darkest Hour and Pitch Perfect 3 were meaningful contributors to the quarterly results.
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