Thursday, October 28, 2021

Comcast Beats Expectations, Hedging On Peacock Metrics

UPDATE 10AM THURSDAY:  Comcast and NBCUniversal executives are suddenly quite cagey about the number of Peacock signups, according to The Wrap. “Everything on Peacock is heading in the right direction, and there’s really nothing from a trajectory perspective that’s any different than it was last quarter or the quarter before. All metrics are pointed up,” NBCU boss Jeff Shell said on Thursday during a conference call with media analysts. “Our usage continues to be great, our mix of users continues to be great. We added a few million more subs, more MAAs.”  “We couldn’t be more excited about where Peacock is,” he added. Last we heard, Peacock had reached 54 million users by July 29, which was the day Comcast reported its second quarter financial results. At that time, Comcast also said the streaming platform boasts 20 million monthly active accounts.


Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable provider, topped Wall Street’s forecasts for third-quarter sales and profit, benefiting from growth in broadband subscribers and a recovery at its theme parks after pandemic-driven closings.

Earnings rose to 87 cents a share, excluding some items, Comcast said Thursday, beating the 75-cent average of analysts’ estimates. Revenue soared to $30.3 billion, also beating projections.

The company added 300,000 broadband internet customers, in line with analysts’ forecasts of 301,000.

Key Insights
  • Comcast investors typically focus on the pace of broadband subscribers, and the lighter showing was largely expected after Chief Financial Officer Michael Cavanagh warned last month of a slight slowdown in new customers, citing disruptions caused by the pandemic.
  • The company lost 408,000 pay-TV customers. That’s fewer than the 421,000 analysts were expecting but nearly 50% higher than the third quarter a year ago. Cord cutting is accelerating as customers abandon cable TV in favor of online streaming, and Comcast is less interested in fighting to keep low-margin customers.
  • Revenue at NBCUniversal’s theme parks rose to $1.45 billion, from $385 million a year ago.
  • NBCUniversal’s media revenue, which includes its TV networks and Peacock streaming service, increased 9% when the Olympics are excluded. Despite a sharp decline in TV viewership for the games this summer, NBC generated $1.8 billion in revenue for the broadcast of the games and turned a profit.
  • Comcast did not report sign-ups for Peacock. The streaming service, which offers both paid and free options to customers, had 54 million sign-ups as of July.
  • Peacock, NBC’s new streaming service, generated $230 million in revenue, roughly doubling from $122 million in the second quarter of this year. It posted a loss of $520 million, up from $363 million three months earlier in losses, as Comcast invested more in programming.
“I am pleased with our strong operating and financial results this quarter. Each of our businesses posted significant growth in Adjusted EBITDA, contributing to a double-digit increase in our Adjusted EPS,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said in a prepared statement accompanying the financials. 

“At Cable, our customer and financial metrics remained strong, highlighted by 10% growth in Adjusted EBITDA, the highest level of customer retention on record for a third quarter, and the most wireless net additions since the launch of Xfinity Mobile in 2017. Our results at NBCUniversal continue to be driven by the ongoing recovery at our domestic Theme Parks, as well as the success of our linear and streaming Media platforms.”

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