Comcast beat Wall Street analysts’ estimates for the second quarter, delivering total revenue of $30 billion and earnings per share of $1.01.
The targets were $29.75 billion and 92 cents, respectively.
NBCUniversal revenue rose 19% to $9.4 billion, while adjusted EBIDTA increased almost 20% to $1.86 billion. Peacock Premium subscriber levels stalled at 13 million, but the streaming service helped drive an 8% year-over-year increase in distribution revenue. Losses at Peacock widened to $467 million, from $363 million a year ago, while revenue totaled $444 million. No overall monthly active account numbers were included with the financial results, but the company reported 28 million in April, ahead of pace to hit its own projection of 30 million to 35 million MAAs by 2025. At the start of the company’s conference call with analysts, CEO Brian Roberts said the company had 27 million monthly active accounts at the end of the quarter, a slight dip from the prior quarter.
The earnings release did not include much context for Peacock’s sideways movement in the quarter, though it said the results followed “a very strong first quarter that was driven by a variety of extraordinary programming.” NBCU had both the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl in February, both of which streamed on Peacock, and also rolled out Bel-Air, the most successful original show in the streaming service’s 2-year history (according to the company).
Studio revenue at NBCU jumped 33% to $3 billion in the second quarter of 2022, primarily due to higher theatrical revenue compared with a year ago as well as strong content licensing revenue. Theatrical revenue increased $352 million to $550 million, primarily due to the presence of more theatrical releases compared with a year ago, including Jurassic World: Dominion. Content licensing revenue climbed 19%, driven by television.
In the media division of NBCU, distribution revenue increased 8% to $2.7 billion, but advertising revenue fell 1% to $2.2 billion. The earnings release noted that without the impact of sports timing or comparisons with 2021, when the NHL playoffs aired on NBCU networks, ad revenue would have climbed by low-single-digits.
Comcast’s cable unit, long a mainstay, had a mixed quarter, with revenue inching up a bit less than 4% to $16.6 billion. While broadband registered revenue gains in the mid-single digits, its subscriber growth came to a surprising halt after years of steady, profitable gains. Video revenue in the cable division declined 3% due to a loss of 1.7 million residential customers in the period. Still the No. 1 U.S. cable operator, Comcast closed the quarter on June 30 with 16.5 million residential video customers.
Investors reacted negatively to the results, sending Comcast shares down 6% in pre-market trading. While the company’s stock has been hit hard along with the rest of the media sector in 2022, its 15% decline to date is less pronounced than that of peers like Disney or Warner Bros Discovery.
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