Comcast Earnings Rise 12 Percent
Comcast reported its third-quarter earnings today. It made a lot of money. A lot of money. Harry Potter money.
Comcast, the cable and entertainment conglomerate, reported a 12 percent increase in earnings in the third quarter, propelled by growth in the company’s high-speed Internet business and NBC broadcast television network.
Total revenue increased 4 percent, to $16.8 billion, compared to the same period last year, the company reported Thursday.
Net income for the quarter was $2.6 billion, up 49.7 percent from the same period last year because of the one-time addition of income tax adjustments and other items. Excluding those additions, earnings per share increased 12.3 percent to 73 cents.
Comcast said it has deployed more than five million units of its next-generation, Internet-connected X1 set-top box as it moves aggressively to stem losses of video customers. The company showed improvements in its video subscriber results, losing 81,000 video customers in the third quarter, compared with a loss of 127,000 customers a year ago.
Meanwhile, Comcast’s subscriber growth in broadband picked up, as the company added 315,000 broadband subscribers, compared with 297,000 a year ago. Voice subscriber additions slowed to 68,000, from 169,000 in the prior-year period, driven by more customers opting for two-product bundles rather than the full “triple play.” Comcast boosted its broadband revenue 9.6%, while voice revenue declined 0.5%. Business services revenue jumped 21%.
Bloomberg gets commentary on those numbers from David Heger, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co.:
“From the point of view of a cable company, you really want to see broadband growth more so than cable-TV growth because it’s much more profitable,” Heger, who has a buy rating on the stock, said in an interview before the earnings release. “For a Comcast, it’s really broadband and a bigger push into the business market” that are fueling growth, he said.
The average customer bill edged up 4 percent to $137.24 per month after a 2 percent price hike at the beginning of the year. Customers added more services and business client revenue rose.
At NBCUniversal, advertising revenue rose 4 percent to $1.15 billion, helped by high ratings for NBC shows like “The Voice,” ”The Blacklist,” ”Sunday Night Football” and news programming.
Film revenue fell 15 percent to $1.19 billion due to tough comparisons with last year, when the popular animated movie “Despicable Me 2” was released.
For the third quarter of 2014, revenue from the Theme Parks segment increased 18.7% to $786 million compared to $661 million in the third quarter of 2013, reflecting higher guest attendance and per capita spending, driven by the successful opening of Orlando’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ™ – Diagon Alley ™. Third quarter operating cash flow increased 16.9% to $402 million compared to $343 million in the same period last year, reflecting higher revenue, partially offset by an increase in operating costs to support the new attractions.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2014, revenue from the Theme Parks segment increased 13.1% to $1.9 billion compared to $1.7 billion in 2013. Operating cash flow increased 9.1% to $816 million compared to $747 million in the first nine months of 2013.
Maybe Harry Potter has a spell for strengthening Comcast’s bottom line — Profitus Maximus! (Poof!)