Comcast Beats Earnings Expectations, Revenues Rise on Theme Parks and Studios

Comcast beat revenue estimates on Thursday as its theme parks studios helped to offset a slowdown in its residential broadband business. The cable and media giant added 556,000 new customer relationships during the quarter, with high-speed internet leading the way. Its video and wireless divisions both posted revenue gains. The Philadelphia-based company’s NBCUniversal streaming service, Peacock, also saw increased paid subscribers.

Comcast’s second-quarter earnings report also revealed that the company’s theatrical studio, Universal Pictures, posted a strong box office performance with the release of the hit animated movie “The Super Mario Bros Movie,” which took in $1.3 billion in ticket sales over its opening weekend. The company’s Xfinity TV network also had solid ratings, helping it to report higher advertising revenue.

Theme park attendance still lags pre-pandemic levels, but rising prices at Universal Parks and Resorts Inc and Walt Disney Co’s theme parks have boosted profits. Comcast has raised its one-day tickets at Orlando’s Universal Studios to around $109 for adults and $104 for children ages 3 to 9. But it is far behind industry leader Walt Disney, which gets about 36 million visitors annually.

At the same time, Comcast’s telephony division grew at its fastest rate in four years, bolstered by a rise in demand for high-speed Internet services and the growing popularity of remote work, which boosts broadband use. The company also is expanding its 10G capabilities, a high-speed connection that can be installed in homes and businesses.

But overall, the company’s revenue rose slower than expected, reflecting a decline in its traditional cable TV business. Its domestic cable TV customers dropped by 543,000 during the quarter, leaving it with less than 15 million subscribers. The trend of consumers cutting their cable TV subscriptions has accelerated over the past few quarters as more consumers shift to streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+.

Despite the drop in its legacy cable TV business, Comcast’s diversified entertainment unit, NBCUniversal, boosted overall revenue with an 18% gain. Its broadcast network and Universal Pictures benefited from an uptick in movie theater and theme park admissions, as well as the successful theatrical releases of such movies as “The Super Mario Bros Movie” and “Fast X.”

The company’s other studios and content services also reported solid growth. Revenue at the NBCUniversal studios increased by 6.7%, helped by box office revenue, while the rest of the division – which includes ad sales and licensing – saw a 0.9% revenue increase. International television networks, which account for the bulk of the division’s revenue, saw a 3.2% revenue increase. Domestic distribution revenue dipped 2.2%, while ad sales fell 4.9%.

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