Broadband Growth, World Cup Gains Boost Comcast’s Q2 Earnings

Gains in high-speed data customers and advertising growth powered by Telemundo’s World Cup broadcasts helped drive Comcast’s second quarter earnings growth.

NBCUniversal’s film unit had a down quarter with year-over-year declines in the face of tough comparables to the box office success last year of “Fate of the Furious” and home entertainment revenue delivered in the year-ago quarter by “Get Out,” “Fifty Shades Darker,” “Sing” and “Split.”

NBCUniversal’s theme parks were a bright spot for the quarter with revenue and adjusted earnings growing thanks in part to the opening of “Fast and Furious — Supercharged” attraction at the Universal Studios Orlando park.

Comcast’s total revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% to $21.7 billion. Adjusted earnings were up 4.8% to $7.4 billion while net income jumped 27.6% to $3.2 billion. Comcast declared a quarterly dividend of 19 cents a share.

NBCUniversal revenue was flat overall for the quarter at $8.3 billion. Adjusted earnings were up 4.2% to $2.2 billion.

Higher distribution revenue and a 22.5% hike in content licensing revenue at NBCUniversal’s cable networks fueled the earnings growth, with revenue up 8.2% to $2.9 billion and adjusted earnings growth 12.5% to $1.2 billion.

Broadcast TV saw a 9.2% increase in advertising revenue thanks to Telemundo’s World Cup telecasts. Distribution revenue from higher retrans fees was up 16.8% for the quarter. Total revenue for the unit was up 6.7% to $2.4 billion while earnings were flat at $417 million, in part because of higher programming costs due to the World Cup and audience declines.

The film unit posted a 20.2% slide in revenue to $1.7 billion. Adjusted earnings plunged 52.1% to $138 million. The June 12 timing of the release of summer tentpole “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” late in the quarter also contributed to the year-over-year declines.

Theme park revenue came in at $1.4 billion, up 3.6% while adjust earnings were up 3.4% to $569 million.

On the Comcast cable systems side, a gain of 260,000 high-speed internet subscribers helped offset the loss of 140,000 video subscribers. Total revenue for the cable systems unit clocked in at $13.7 billion, up 3.4%. Adjusted earnings grew 5.6% to $5.6 billion.

“We delivered fantastic results in the second quarter, including robust free cash flow of $4.3 billion,” Comcast chairman-CEO Brian Roberts said. “At Cable Communications, we added 182,000 customer relationships, largely driven by our addition of 260,000 broadband customers, which was the highest second quarter result in 10 years. These strong customer metrics were balanced with robust EBITDA growth, fueled by high-speed Internet and business services. NBCUniversal’s performance was highlighted by continued momentum in affiliate revenue at our cable networks business, and Telemundo presented its first ever FIFA World Cup which set multiple records for the network. Additionally, we are excited about the new attractions that we opened at each of our theme parks during the quarter, and pleased with the theatrical performance of ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.’ Overall, our successful results in the first half of 2018 underscore the strength we see across Comcast NBCUniversal.”

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