Comcast Q4 Earnings: NBCUniversal Revenue Falls 18% on Lower Ratings, Delayed TV Series

“The Croods: A New Age” contributes what it can from home (and a partial theatrical release)

Comcast reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 financial results on Thursday morning.

NBCUniversal’s Q4 revenue declined 18% year to year as TV ratings declined and the rollout of several series was delayed due to the coronavirus. Cable revenue slipped 6% from Q4 2019. Broadcast TV declines doubled that.

On the film side, “The Croods: A New Age” contributed what it could from a mostly home release. There was *some* theatrical revenue, but overall the company’s box office haul dropped 70% from the comparable quarter in 2019. All told, filmed entertainment revenue dropped 8%.

Universal’s theme parks revenue for the same segment fell 63% as the Hollywood location remained closed and Orlando and Japan operated at limited capacities.

Fortunately for Comcast, its cable-providing arm, which is the company’s largest business, saw revenue rise 6%. Comcast added 455,000 new customers, its best fourth quarter on record.

Wall Street had forecast earnings per share (EPS) of 48 cents on $26.78 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate compiled by Yahoo Finance. Comcast actually reported adjusted EPS of 56 cents on $27.708 billion in revenue.

The revenue figure was down 2.4% from the prior fourth quarter. Net income decreased 28.5%.

“Outstanding performance at Cable drove very strong fourth quarter results for our company,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said Thursday in a prepared statement accompanying the financial results. “We added 538,000 net new broadband customers and delivered Adjusted EBITDA growth of over 12%. Our theme parks in Orlando and Osaka reached breakeven; and encouragingly, Sky returned to customer growth in all three of its markets, bringing our total customer relationships and overall revenue in Europe essentially back to 2019 levels.”

“With the vaccines rolling out throughout the world, we are optimistic that the parts of our business that had been most impacted will soon be back on a path towards growth,” Roberts continued. “This confidence is shared by our Board of Directors, which has announced an increase in the dividend for the thirteenth consecutive year. In addition, it is now our expectation that we will be in a position to begin repurchasing shares again in the back half of this year. While this is certainly the most challenging period we have faced, I could not be more proud of how our management team and employees continue to pull together and deliver. Today’s results are a testament to their commitment and dedication.”

Comcast increased its annual divided by 8 cents to $1 per share this morning.

Comcast stock (CMCSA) closed Wednesday at $48.42 per share. The U.S. stock markets reopen at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Comcast executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter and full-year 2020 in greater detail.

Earlier this week, Comcast’s Peacock acquired WWE Network programming at a price tag of approximately $1 billion over the next five years.

More to come…

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