Business News: Comcast exceeds profit expectations, reports Peacock sign-ups grow to 42 million.
Parent company Comcast posted major earnings beat with EPS of $ 0.71, up 54% from the year before, with revenues of $ 27.5 billion, up 2.5%, surpassing Wall Street estimates. The stock shot higher in numbers, with a 2.7% increase in early trading.
Simply put, the sprawling conglom saw a goldmine of high-speed Internet, but lost video subscribers on the cable side; at NBCU, the Covid theme park and theatrical revenues were bad but improved for obvious reasons, but lower costs inflated studio profits; media segment sales increased but earnings declined slightly, partly due to Peacock-led production and programming expenses.
“We have been very encouraged by Peacock so far,” the company said, adding to its earnings claim that usage has doubled its projections. The company also achieved the best first-quarter result ever for total customer relationships, adding 380,000, reaching 33.5 million. It added 461,000 high-speed Internet customers.
The company’s studio division was hampered by the pandemic, which limited cinema operations and halted some film productions. Studio revenue fell 0.6% to $ 2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2021, primarily reflecting lower theater revenue. Theatrical revenues fell 87.7%, driven by the deferral of screen releases, the closure of cinemas and capacity constraints.
The parks have mostly been back in business since Universal Studios Hollywood reopened on April 16. However, the division experienced tremendous success in the last quarter, with revenues down 33% and EBITDA (operating income) down 170%.
Cable Communications, by far Comcast’s largest segment, saw revenues grow 5.9% to $ 15.8 billion in the first quarter, thanks to increases in broadband, wireless, business services and advertising revenues. Total customer relationships increased from 380,000 to 33.5 million, although they recorded 491,000 net video subscribers according to industry performance.
At NBCUniversal, revenues fell 9% to $ 7 billion, operating income fell 12% to $ 1.5 billion. Studios’ sales fell slightly (down 0.6%) to $ 2.4 billion. Lower theater revenues were partially offset by content licensing. Theatrical revenue plummeted nearly 90% when films were rejected with cinemas still closed or operating at reduced capacity due to Covid. Revenue from content licensing increased by 14%.
Studio’s operating profit jumped 66% to $ 497 with lower revenue more than offset by lower operating costs, meaning much less spending on advertising, marketing and promotion because there were so few films released in theaters.
Total media revenue increased 3.2% to $ 5 billion. Profits fell 3.7% to $ 1.5 thanks to higher programming and production expenses, driven primarily by Peacock’s content depreciation.
Revenue for Sky increased 10.6% to $ 5 billion. Profits plummeted nearly 40% on higher programming and production expenses, reflecting higher sports programming costs across multiple events. There have also been higher costs associated with the growth of Sky’s mobile and broadband residential businesses.