Parent Comcast posted a significant jump in earnings with earnings per share of $ 0.71, up 54% year over year, on revenue of $ 27.5 billion, up 2.5%, according to Wall’s estimates Street surpassed. The stock rose 2.7% in early trading.
In short, the sprawling conglom saw a high-speed internet bonanza but lost video subscribers on the cable side. At NBCU, Covid theme park and theater revenues were dismal but improved for obvious reasons, but lower costs increased studio profits. Media segment revenue increased, but earnings declined slightly – in part due to Peacock-driven production and programming costs.
“We’ve been very encouraging to Peacock so far,” the company said, adding to its earnings call that usage has doubled its forecasts. With 380,000 customers and 33.5 million customers, the company also achieved the best result in the first quarter of all customer relationships. There were 461,000 high-speed Internet customers.
The company’s studio division has been hampered by the pandemic that restricted cinema operations and shut down some film productions. Studio revenue declined 0.6% to $ 2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2021, primarily due to lower theater revenue. Theatrical sales decreased 87.7% due to the postponement of theatrical releases, theater closings and capacity constraints.
Most of the parks have been operational again since Universal Studios Hollywood reopened on April 16. However, the division still had a massive hit in the final quarter: sales fell 33% and EBITDA (operating profit) fell 170%.
Cable Communications, by far Comcast’s largest segment, saw revenue jump 5.9% to $ 15.8 billion in the first quarter, driven by higher broadband, wireless, corporate services and advertising revenues. The total number of customer relationships increased by 380,000 to 33.5 million – although this was 491,000 net video subscribers according to the industry trend.
NBCUniversal’s revenue decreased 9% to $ 7 billion and operating income decreased 12% to $ 1.5 billion. The studios’ turnover declined slightly to USD 2.4 billion (minus 0.6%). Lower theater revenues were partially offset by content licensing. Theater revenues fell by almost 90% as films were pushed back because cinemas were either still closed or operated at reduced capacity due to Covid. Content licensing revenue increased 14%.
The studio’s operating profit rose 66% to $ 497, with lower revenues more than offset by lower operating costs. This means much less spending on advertising, marketing, and promotions because so few films have been released in theaters.
Total media revenue increased 3.2% to $ 5 billion. Earnings were down 3.7% to $ 1.5, driven by higher programming and production costs mainly driven by the content write-off at Peacock.
Sky’s revenue increased 10.6% to $ 5 billion. Profit decreased by almost 40% due to higher programming and production costs –
This reflects higher costs for sports programs with more events. There were also higher costs related to the growth of Sky’s wireless and broadband businesses.