Comcast Q1 Profit Rises on Cable, Sky Results While NBC Seeks Pandemic Recovery

Comcast said first-quarter profit rose due largely to increases in business at its cable and Sky operations, while its NBCUniversal business continued to recover from the results of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Philadelphia media giant said first quarter profit rose 55% to $3.33 billion, or 71 cents a share, compared with$2.1 billion, or $4.6 billion in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 2.2% to $27.2 billion from $26.6 billion in the year-earlier period, largely on new broadband and wireless subscriptions at its large cable business and improvements at its European Sky unit. Overall, Comcast said it had added 461,000 new high-speed internet customers.

But the company also faced challenges. Revenue fell at NBCUniversal as the company’s theme-park business remained crimped by pandemic protocols and advertising declined. Comcast said its Peacock streaming-video hub had notched 42 million sign-ups in total, though it didn’t specify how many paid subscriptions had resulted.

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“Across all parts of the company, our teams are executing at a high level and collaborating to drive growth and innovation, and I couldn’t be more excited about our future,” said Brian Roberts. Comcast’s CEO, in a prepared statement.

Revenue at the company’s U.S. cable operations rose 6% to $15.81 billion. In addition to the broadband boost, Comcast saw increased demand for its cellphone service, which attracted 278,000 new customers during the period. Even so, the company continues to face defections in its traditional video business. Comcast said it lost 491,000 subscribers from its mainstay pay-TV operations in the first quarter.

Revenue at Sky rose 2% to about $5 billion. The company said the European unit added 221,000 customers.

NBCUniversal faced headwinds, as it has for the past year amid coronavirus. Revenue fell 9% to $7.02 billion, with a decline of 33% at its Universal theme parks and a dip of 0.6% at its film and TV studios. Meanwhile, revenue from the company’s media properties rose 3.2% to $5 billion, largely due to higher distribution revenue.

More to come…

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