Comcast reported earnings per share of 79 cents in the fourth quarter, edging the consensus expectation of Wall Street analysts by two cents.
Total revenue of $28.4 billion in the period also came in just ahead of estimates.
The Cable Communications unit led the charge for the quarter, with total revenue there rising almost 3% to $14.8 billion. High-speed internet revenue climbed 9% on an increase in both customers and rates.
NBCUniversal revenue dipped nearly 3% to $9.2 billion and adjusted EBITDA fell almost 5% to $2 billion, largely due to a notable downturn in the film studio. Film revenue dropped 21% to $1.6 billion as comparisons with the 2018 quarter, which featured Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch and Halloween, proved to be difficult.
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Revenue in NBCU’s Cable Networks unit increased 1% to $2.9 billion in the quarter, which the company credited to higher advertising and content licensing and other revenue. Advertising revenue rose 2%, reflecting higher rates, partially offset by audience ratings declines. Content licensing and other revenue increased 3%, due to higher revenue from our digital businesses. Distribution revenue was flat, reflecting contractual rate increases and the timing of contract renewals, offset by a decline in subscribers. Adjusted EBITDA decreased 1% to $1 billion.
The earnings release comes a week after the company presented its plans for streaming service Peacock to investors at an event in New York. Streaming will be a major focus of the company in 2020 and beyond. As a major purveyor of broadband service, the company is positioning itself to weather the ongoing effects of cord-cutting. In the quarter, total video subscriptions declined 149,000 to 21.3 million. For the full year, though, total customer relationships – across pay-TV and internet – increased by 1.1 million, which the company said was a record.
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