Comcast beat Wall Street forecasts for first-quarter earnings, coming in at 77 cents a share, well ahead of the consensus estimate of 68 cents.
Revenue rose 18% to $26.9 billion, but fell short of forecasts for $27.3 billion, largely due to comparisons with a 2018 quarter that included the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl.
Cable Networks revenue decreased 9.2% to $2.9 billion in the quarter. Excluding $378 million of revenue generated by the broadcast of the PyeongChang Olympics in the first quarter of 2018, revenue increased 3%. Broadcast TV revenue decreased 29.4% to $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2019, primarily reflecting lower advertising revenue. Excluding $770 million from the Olympics and $423 million from Super Bowl LII, revenue increased 7%.
Revenue at the Universal film studio increased 7.4% to $1.8 billion and EBITDA went up 79% to $364 million thanks to How to Train Your Dragon:The Hidden World and Us.
On the cable side, high-speed internet revenue jumped 10% to nearly $4.6 billion, more than offsetting continued erosion of video. About 107,000 residential video customers were lost in the quarter, leaving Comcast at 20.85 million U.S. video homes.
Despite some headwinds and industry-wide reshuffling of the overall pay-TV bundle, revenue per customer increased 5% in the quarter. “Video continues to play an important role in the bundle,” CFO Michael Cavanagh said, given the company’s range of mobile and “bring-your-own-device” offerings.
Sky, the European pay-TV giant Comcast acquired last year, saw revenue decrease 5% due to currency impacts, while EBITDA slid 11% due to outlays for soccer rights in Italy and Germany.
“Comcast is off to a terrific start in 2019, financially, operationally and strategically.In the first quarter,” CEO Brian Roberts said. “Across all parts of the company, our teams are executing at a high level and collaborating to drive growth and innovation.I’m excited about this quarter’s results and the opportunities ahead.”