Comcast beat Wall Street estimates in the third quarter, reporting earnings per share of 62 cents, up 13% from the year-ago period and a penny higher than what analysts had projected.
Total revenue came in at $22.1 billion, ahead of analysts’ consensus view of $21.8 billion.
NBCUniversal results provided a pulse for the quarter, with total revenue climbing 8% to $8.6 billion. Broadcast and cable delivered double-digit gains in revenue as well as growth in EBITDA, though the overall unit saw earnings decline 8.5% to $2.1 billion on downturns at the fiilm studio and theme parks.
Advertising revenue increased 9.2% at the NBC broadcast network, driven by Telemundo’s World Cup broadcasts from Russia. The NBCU cable networks posted an ad revenue gain of 4%.
Universal’s theatrical revenue increased 17% on a slate topped by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. But EBITDA at the film studio decreased by 44.2% to $214 million in the third quarter of 2018 due to higher operating costs.
In the cable unit, the company’s industry-leading cable system had its best third quarter of EBITDA in 10 years, and saw total customer relationships rise by 288,000 to 30.1 million. Broadband and voice were the drivers, though, as video customer net losses totaled 106,000, a potentially disconcerting stat for investors keyed into pay-TV trends.
Comcast’s stock price took a tumble yesterday, along with the entire media/tech sector, closing at $34.12, down 4%. It has declined 17% in 2018 to date as the company pursued an unsuccessful bid for the 21st Century Fox assets eventually won by Disney. Investors rewarded the company for not prevailing in that battle, but have expressed angst over the debt incurred by its winning bid for Sky.
Controlling the European pay-TV giant expands Comcast’s business considerably on the international front, but the growth comes at a price. The deal values Sky at $40 billion, almost 40% higher than its level when Comcast began bidding against Fox last winter.