Comcast beats earnings estimates even as it sheds more broadband subscribers

In this photo illustration, Comcast Corporation logo seen displayed on a tablet.

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Comcast beat first-quarter earnings expectations on Thursday, as broadband drove revenue even as the company and its peers have seen customer growth slow.

Here’s how Comcast performed, compared with estimates from analysts surveyed by LSEG:

  • Earnings per share: $1.04 adjusted vs. 99 cents expected
  • Revenue: $30.06 billion vs. $29.81 billion expected

For the quarter ended March 31, net income rose 0.6% to $3.86 billion, or 97 cents a share, compared with $3.83 billion, or 91 cents a share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) slid 0.6% to roughly $9.4 billion.

The company’s revenue grew 1.2% to $30.06 billion compared to the same period last year. Revenue from the domestic broadband customers segment boosted that growth as rates increased, even as Comcast lost 65,000 customers during the quarter.

Comcast’s wireless business saw a 21% increase in customers during the quarter to 6.9 million total lines. The company lost 487,000 cable TV customers during the quarter as consumers continued to cut the cord in favor of streaming.

The company’s theme parks adjusted EBITDA fell 3.9% to $632 million during the quarter, due to an increase in operating expenses like higher marketing and promotion costs, as well as the negative impact of foreign currency. Similarly, earnings for its media business – which includes NBCUniversal – and studios also declined. The three businesses now report under the same segment, which collectively saw revenue rise 1.1% to $10.37 billion.

NBCUniversal got a boost from Peacock. The service added 3 million paid subscribers during the quarter, bringing its total number of customers to 34 million. Revenue for the streamer rose 54% to $1.1 billion compared to the same period last year. While domestic advertising was flat during the quarter, the company saw its domestic distribution revenue increase, driven by the growth at Peacock.

Losses stemming from Peacock weighed on the segment and offset higher revenue. The company saw an adjusted EBITDA loss of $639 million related to Peacock during the quarter. That improved, however, from an adjusted EBITDA loss of $704 million in the same period last year.

The streamer saw a boost after Universal Pictures’ Academy Award winner and blockbuster film “Oppenheimer” landed on the platform. Comcast said it was the most watched movie in Peacock history.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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