Comcast qtr. soars but U ‘Battle’-tested

Comcast earnings surge by more than 30%

“Battleship” sank Universal profits last quarter, although earnings at parent company, media giant Comcast, surged by more than 30% to $1.3 billion.

Total revenue grew 6% to $15.2 billion. The cable operations are adding broadband subscribers fast and slowing the rate of defection of video subs.

Total NBCUniversal revenue dipped 0.8% to $5.5 billion on tough comps from a content licensing deal with Netflix the year before. Higher programming costs squeezed profits too.

The film studio posted a cash flow loss of $83 million versus a profit of $27 million the year before on the underperformance of “Battleship,” based on the popular game.

“NBCUniversal’s second quarter performance came in as anticipated, and we continue to be very positive about our opportunities to build value across all the NBCUniversal businesses,” said Comcast chairman Brian Roberts. He said Olympics coverage is a showcase of the two sides of Comcast’s business working together.

Cable networks grew revenue by 3.6% to $2.3 billion, driven by a 6.8% increase in distribution revenue and a 4.1% increase in ad revenue.

Operating cash flow fell 6.8% to $788 million on increased investment in original programming and higher NHL and NBA programming costs.

Broadcast revenue fell 9% to $1.5 billion. Operating cash flow increased 2.7% to $196 million, reflecting improved performance at the owned local stations.

Theme parks revenue rose 3.4% to $539 million.

On the cable side, revenue rose 6% to $9.9 billion. High speed revenue rose 8.9%, business services revenue surged 34% and video revenue nosed up 2.8%.

Monthly average total revenue per video sub increased 8% to $148.57, reflecting a growing number of residential customers taking multiple products.

Comcast ended the year with 22.1 million video customers, down from 22.5 million the year before.

High-speed data subs grew to 18.7 million from 17.5 million. Business services subs were up to 9.7 million from 6 million.