NBC Owner Comcast Beats Earnings Forecasts -- But No Thanks to the Broadcast Network Deadline
Media giant Comcast offered a mixed bag in its first-quarter earnings report today, announcing that it generated $1.65 billion in net income, up 13.7% from the year-ago period, on revenues of $15.3 billion, up 2.9%, Deadline.com reports.
“Analysts thought that revenues would come in a little higher, at $15.4B. But earnings of 54 cents a share beat forecasts for 50 cents,” the story reports.
Revenue from cable networks was up 4.6% to $2.2 billion, with operating cash flow up 6.2% to $859 million, the piece notes, adding: “Comcast says that affiliate fees were up 8.6% while ad price increases offset lower ratings to raise sales 2.5%.”
The report notes: “The story’s drearier at the broadcast operation: Its operating loss increased to $35M from $14M last year while revenues fell 18.5% to $1.5B. (The drop would be just 5.3% without last year’s Super Bowl.) The main culprits, the company says, were “lower prime-time ratings at the NBC broadcast network and lower content licensing revenue.”
However, the piece says NBCUniversal reported operating cash flow rose 17.2% to $953 million -- despite a 2.4% drop in revenues to $5.34 billion. The report notes that revenues would have been up 2.4% factoring out last year’s $259 million from NBC’s Super Bowl coverage.
Revenues from the Comcast cable systems were up 6.4% to $10.2 billion, with operating cash flow of $4.2 billion, up 6.7%. The systems lost 60,000 video customers during the year to end March with 21.9 million. “That was offset by the 433,000 increase in broadband customers, to 19.8M, and 211,000 pickup in phone customers to 10.2M,” the report notes.
Commenting on the Comcast acquisition of General Electric’s stake in NBCUniversal, CEO Brian Roberts said the move should “drive innovation and operational excellence to deliver superior entertainment and communications choices for consumers.”