Comcast posted mixed-to-positive second-quarter results, delivering earnings of 78 cents a share, three cents better than Wall Street’s estimate, and revenue of $26.9 billion, short of estimates for $27.1 billion.
NBCUniversal revenue slipped 1% to $8.2 billion, with adjusted EBITDA rising 8% to $2.3 billion on strength in broadcast TV, film, cable networks and theme parks.
Comparisons were tough at the film studio, in a quarter put up against the 2018 quarter’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Filmed Entertainment revenue decreased 15% to $1.5 billion due to a 53% drop in theatrical receipts. The Secret Life of Pets 2 was the quarter’s top performer. Adjusted EBITDA increased 33% to $183 million thanks to lower programming and production costs.
NBCU wrapped a record advertising upfront, the company said, with volume up 10% to nearly $7 billion and a double-digit price increase in NBC primetime.
In the cable unit, total revenue came in at $14.45 billion, with adjusted EBITDA up 7% to $5.9 billion. The company lost a total of 224,000 video customers in the period. That was more than the 121,000 it lost in the previous quarter and higher than analysts’ expectation of 178,000 losses, according to research firm FactSet.
The company is gearing up for a big 2020, which is not only another Olympics and election year, but also the period when it will enter the streaming business in a big way. A yet-to-be-named, ad-supported streaming service is expected to debut by next summer, with teams from the recently acquired Sky leading the product effort, with the plan to exploit the combined Comcast-Sky footprint at launch.
“We now have nearly 55 million high-value direct customer relationships, including the 456,000 net additions in the second quarter, and a vast library of intellectual property and new productions that are extremely popular across generations and geographies,” CEO Brian Roberts said in the earnings release. “Our teams throughout the company continue to collaborate to make themselves and each other even stronger, and I’m excited about our growth opportunities ahead.”
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