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NBCU Studio, Parks Are Standouts In Comcast Q2; Peacock, At 24 Million Subscribers, Sees Losses Widen


Media giant Comcast beat on its top and bottom line for the three months ended in June with theme parks and studio strong, even as the latter basks in another giant opening, for Opppenheimer, in the current third quarter.

Total revenue nosed up 1.7% to $30.5 billion for the second quarter ended in June. Net income jumped 25% to $4.28 billion. EPS of $1.02 compared with $0.76 a year ago.

At studios, adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — a profit metric Wall Street likes) surged by $258 million to $255 million driven by the The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which grossed $1.3 billion in worldwide box office in the second quarter, and Fast X.

Theme Parks adjusted EBITDA increased 32% to $833 million, its highest on record, reflecting year-on-year growth at Universal Beijing, Universal Japan and Universal Hollywood. The parks in Asia were still partly closed or at reduced capacity for part of last year.

“The consistent investments we’ve been making in our growth businesses continue to generate strong results and position us extremely well both now and into the future,” said CEO Brian Roberts. “Second quarter operational and financial performance was excellent and included a double-digit increase in Adjusted EPS and significant free cash flow generation,” he said, shouting out parks, Super Mario Bros., and nearly doubled paid Peacock subscribers year-over-year. Peacock hit 24 million subs, up 2 million from the previous quarter.

Comcast calls its biggest business Connectivity & Platforms, which includes broadband, wireless and cable TV. Revenue was flat with the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA increased due to growth in Residential Connectivity & Platforms. In line with the industry, the division continued to shed broadband customers (19k net lost) and video subs (net 543k lost) in the quarter. But the operations limit Comcast’s exposure to the entertainment sector, including the impact of a strike by Hollywood writers and actors.

Content & Experiences, the entertainment, side, saw gains in parks and the studio, partly offset by a decrease in media that was driven in part by higher costs at Peacock as the service scales and lower domestic advertising revenue.

At Peacock, revenue rose 85% to $820 million. But losses at the streamer widened to $651 million from $467 million the year before.

Execs at Peacock and most other streamers have said 2023 will be the peak year of losses.

The numbers are the first since Comcast President Mike Cavanagh streamlined the entertainment business. He was handed the portfolio after former NBCU chief Jeff Shell’s abrupt exit in April following an investigation into sexual harassment.

Cavanagh will continue to lead NBCU but has handed responsibility to four operational heads in a new structure: Donna Langley now oversees the NBCUniversal Studio Group; Mark Lazarus, the NBCUniversal Media Group; Cesar Conde, an expanded NBCU News Group; and Mark Woodbury, Universal Destinations & Experiences Group.

More to come…

Content Source: deadline.com


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