Brian Roberts: NBC, Harry Potter Ride Boost Comcast’s Q3 Profit

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Time Warner
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Cable and entertainment giant Comcast saw its third-quarter net income soar nearly 50%, thanks to a favorable tax adjustment and improving performance at its NBCUniversal unit.

The Philadelphia company, which is currently seeking approval from federal regulators to buy Time Warner Cable, said profit in the period came to $2.59 billion, or 99 cents a share, compared with $1.73 billion, or 65 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding a $724 million income-tax adjustment and items related to acquisitions, adjusted profit per share rose 12.3% to 73 cents. The company said revenue increased 4% to $16.79 billion.

In a conference call with investors, Comcast executives said improved ratings at NBC and consumer excitement over a new Harry Potter attraction at its Orlando theme park were the highlights of the quarter.

The company said video subscribers at its cable operations, which represent the bulk of its business, fell by 81,000, compared with a loss of 127,000 video customers in the previous quarter. Broadband subscribers, however, increased by 315,000, compared with an increase of 297,000 in the previous quarter. Voice customers increased by 68,000, compared with 169,000 in the previous period.

Overall, operating cash flow in the division increased 5.1% to $4.5 billion, compared with $4.2 billion in the third quarter of 2013, partially offset by a 5.3% increase in operating expenses primarily related to higher video programming costs, as well as an increase in advertising, marketing and promotion expenses. The operating cash flow margin for the quarter was 40.4%, compared to 40.5% in 2013.

At NBCUniversal, broadcast television assets appeared to carry the day, with advertising revenue on the rise thanks to improved ratings at the company’s flagship NBC broadcast outlet. Cable networks, meanwhile, saw ad revenue decline as ratings fell.

Operating cash flow increased $108 million to $142 million for broadcast, compared with $34 million in the third quarter of 2013, owing to higher revenue and a slight increase in operating costs and expenses. Operating cash flow for cable networks increased 1.8% to $868 million, compared with $853 million in the third quarter of 2013, owing to higher revenue and flat operating costs.

The company said it continues to expect its pending Time Warner Cable merger to be complete by “early 2015” even though regulators recently paused their review of the transaction.

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  1. There’s always two sides of the story…From where I sit we have a small business crisis on our hands, these mega mergers, new technologies and shifts in the economy have eliminated jobs and opportunities for small business, entrepreneurs and independent contractors across all segments of media and entertainment. Here’s just a few facts… who paid for your increased profits Comcast, Universal Film,TV and Music, NBC.
    • The motion picture and sound industries lost over 30,000 jobs between January 2014 and August 2014
    • The music industry has lost over 70,000 jobs since the start of the digital music era?
    • Over the last decade, Hollywood has lost over 10,000 jobs in TV?
    • Employment in production and distribution of motion pictures and sound recordings suffered an 8% decline since last August and 19% in the past two years.

    • Alex says:

      Am I wrong when I say that everyone who has a hand in the Comcast/Time Warner merger will get a really big Gold Parachute? Maybe that is why they don’t give a rats ass about how bad NBC TV has become, could it be that merger is all they care about? Last year NBC/U laid off 450 people, all they care about are profits. Time Warner is laying off over 1,000 people, meanwhile….

  2. Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

    Money isn’t everything!

    Deborah Turness & NBC News do NOT know the difference between Hypocrisy and Hippocrates.

    Dr. Synderman should read the entire Hippocratic Oath and depart honorably from NBC’s journalistic ranks soon and make appropriate amends off camera.

    Before that departure, NBCUniversal should show Deborah Turness the door once she has been in management quarantine for 21 days for infecting all manner of journalistic judgments with chronic poor choice.
    “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.”
    Source: The Hippocratic Oath
    Hippocratic Oath (Modern version edited for WordPress limitations.)
    “I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant: …
    I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism. …
    I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.
    I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. … Above all, I must not play at God. …
    I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
    I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm. …
    May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”

    Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.

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