Comcast sinks despite profit beat, as broadband subscribers slip and ad revenue slumps

Comcast revenue and profit top estimates as Universal theme park sales soar

Comcast topped both revenue and profit estimates in the third quarter, but the largest U.S. internet provider lost high-speed broadband customers and NBCUniversal advertising revenue slumped.

Shares of the company slipped more than 8% Thursday.

NBCUniversal’s flagship streaming service Peacock added 4 million subscribers and revenue increased 64% to $830 million, stemming the subscription service’s adjusted quarterly loss to $565 million. Peacock lost an adjusted $614 million in the same period a year prior on $506 million in revenue.

Here’s how Comcast performed, compared with estimates from analysts surveyed by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Comcast reported net income of $4 billion, or 98 cents per share, compared with a loss of $4.6 billion, or $1.05 cents per share, a year earlier. Adjusted for one-time items, per-share earnings were $1.08 in the quarter. The prior year’s results were affected by one-time impairment and goodwill charges associated Comcast’s 2018 acquisition of Sky.

Revenue rose 0.9% compared with the prior-year period. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 5.1% to $9.96 billion.

Read Comcast’s full earnings release.

Theme parks’ adjusted EBITDA increased 20% to $983 million — the highest quarterly profit on record for the division — driven by the popularity of Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Hollywood, Comcast said.

Comcast lost 18,000 high-speed broadband customers in the quarter and 490,000 video subscribers as Americans continue to drop traditional cable TV for streaming services. The company ended the quarter with 14.5 million video subscribers and 29.8 million residential broadband customers.

U.S. broadband revenue rose 3.8% to $6.4 billion even as subscribers fell due to higher rates.

Wireless revenue rose 16% to $917 million in the quarter on a net addition of 294,000 customers. Comcast ended the quarter with 6.3 million wireless customers. Comcast uses Verizon’s network to provide branded Xfinity wireless coverage from an agreement struck in 2016.

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