Comcast’s First Quarter 2023 Results (CMCSA)

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Comcast beat analysts’ expectations with its first-quarter earnings report on Thursday, despite slowing growth in the cable and media giant’s residential broadband business and mounting losses at Peacock.

Shares of the company rose more than 3% in premarket trading. The stock is up more than 4% so far this year through Wednesday’s close.

Here’s Comcast’s performance, compared to estimates from analysts polled by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 92 cents adjusted vs. 82 cents expected
  • Income: 29.69 billion dollars against 29.3 billion dollars expected

For the quarter ended March 31, Comcast reported earnings of $3.83 billion, or 91 cents per share, compared with $3.55 billion, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier. Adjusting for one-time items, Comcast posted earnings per share of 92 cents in the most recent period.

Revenue fell 4% to $29.69 billion from $31.01 billion a year earlier, with the company noting that last year it broadcast both the Super Bowl and the Olympics in Beijing in the first quarter.

The Philadelphia company said its first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 3% to $9.42 billion in the first quarter.

Comcast said it returned $3.2 billion to shareholders in the quarter through a mix of $1.2 billion in dividend payouts and $2 billion in stock buybacks.

Comcast lost 21,000 residential broadband customers in the quarter, but received a slight boost from business customers. Company executives warned earlier this year that Comcast was at risk of losing broadband subscribers in the first quarter.

Still, it was a sign that Comcast, like its peers, continues to face slowing growth in the broadband industry. Executives said while the rate of customer churn is very low, growth has stalled — especially since the early days of the pandemic — as they face increased competition from telecom and wireless providers.

Xfinity’s mobile business reached nearly 5.67 million customers in the quarter, a sign that its wireless service — which is provided in conjunction with a network usage agreement from Verizon — remains a bright spot.

Cable TV customers continued their exodus from the traditional package, with Comcast losing 614,000 subscribers in the quarter.

Comcast last month announced it was changing the way it reports on its segments, now bundling its Xfinity-branded broadband, cable TV and wireless services with its UK-based company Sky, which includes TV services pay-TV and Sky-branded entertainment TV channels to form the “connectivity and platforms” segment. Total segment revenue was approximately $20.15 billion, down slightly from last quarter due to the foreign currency impact.

The second segment, Content and Experiences, includes all of NBCUniversal’s television and streaming businesses, international networks and Sky Sports channels, as well as its movie studios and theme park units. Overall segment revenue decreased nearly 10% to $10.26 billion in the quarter.

Media sector revenue fell in the first quarter, down nearly 40% to $6.15 billion, due to its comparison last year, when NBC aired the Super Bowl and had the rights to the Beijing Olympics for its television networks and Peacock. Still, Comcast said that excluding the $1.5 billion incremental revenue from those two major sporting events, media revenue was still down about 2%.

The tightening ad market showed on Comcast’s balance sheet this quarter, as it did for peers like World Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery. Excluding the Olympics and the Super Bowl – two events that generate a lot of advertising revenue – national advertising in the quarter was down about 6% due to lower television network revenue and lower ratings. listening.

Earlier this week, NBCUniversal faced upheaval with the ousting of CEO Jeff Shell over an employee sexual harassment and discrimination complaint.

National TV distribution revenue increased, excluding the Olympics, which Comcast said was primarily due to higher revenue from Peacock, which had more paying subscribers.

Comcast said Peacock subscriber numbers grew more than 60% year-over-year to 22 million and revenue rose 45% to $685 million. Peacock suffered losses of $704 million, compared to $456 million in the same period last year.

Last quarter, the company noted that Peacock’s losses would be about $3 billion this year. Streaming service costs continued to weigh on results in the media segment.

NBCUniversal’s Movies segment was boosted by animated “Shrek” spin-off “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and horror movie “M3GAN” during the quarter, with revenue up nearly 2% to $2.96 billion.

CEO Brian Roberts touted NBCUniversal’s movie slate in Thursday’s earnings release, with the hit “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” which was released earlier this month. This week he outmoded $900 million at the worldwide box office, including $444 million domestically.

NBCUniversal’s slate of upcoming movies includes next month’s “Fast X,” the next installment in the popular “Fast and Furious” franchise, as well as Christopher Nolan’s upcoming epic, “Oppenheimer,” about the scientist who led the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. It will be released in July.

The company’s theme park segment has been steadily growing, especially since the parks closed during the height of the pandemic, with revenue up 25% to $1.95 billion. The opening of Super Nintendo World also helped boost revenue.

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.



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