Comcast Corp. said profit for the first quarter of 2019 rose 14% thanks to new subscribers coming to its cable unit for high-speed online service and the addition of its recently acquired Sky PLC European-satellite business.
The owner of NBCUniversal and the Comcast cable business said profit came to $3.55 billion, or 77 cents a share, compared with $3.12 billion, or 66 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Analysts had widely expected earnings of 68 cents a share.
Results were buoyed by 375,000 new customers for the Philadelphia company’s high-speed Internet service, even as Comcast shed subscribers from its traditional video business. Comcast’s NBCU division, meanwhile, faced tough comparisons with the year-earlier quarter, when it benefited from revenue associated with a Super Bowl broadcast and the PyeongChang Olympics.
Comcast said revenue rose 18% to $26.86 billion.
Revenue at the company’s large cable unit rose 4.2% to $14.3 billion, driven largely by a 10.1% increase in revenue from high-speed internet customers, along with a 9.5% increase in revenue from business services and a 21.4% increase in revenue from wireless customers. Revenue from traditional video customers dipped 0.5%, due to a decline in residential cable subscribers. Comcast said its total customer base rose by 300,000 to 30.7 million in the first quarter, despite a loss of 121,000 video customers.
NBCUniversal faced challenging comparisons with year-earlier results, which included advertising and distribution revenue associated with landmark sports broadcasts of the PyeongChang Olympics and the Super Bowl LII. Revenue at NBCU fell 12.5% to $8.3 billion. The company said it had enjoyed an extra $1.6 billion of revenue in the first quarter of 2018 thanks to the events. Revenue increased 7.4% to $1.8 billion at NBCU’s film division, owing to improved performance from content licensing agreemnts as well as films such as “Us” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”