Comcast Tops Q1 Earnings Expectations With Assists From ‘Us,’ New ‘How to Train Your Dragon’

But NBCUniversal parent company misses revenue mark as it definitely misses having the Super Bowl, Olympics

Last Updated: April 25, 2019 @ 6:17 AM

Comcast’s first-quarter 2019 financials are out, and they’re a bit of a mixed bag.

Wall Street had forecast the company’s Q1 earnings per share (EPS) at 67 cents on $27.21 billion in revenue, per a Yahoo Finance consensus estimate. Comcast actually reported adjusted EPS of 76 cents on $26.86 billion in revenue.

It’s important to note that in Q1 of 2018, Comcast’s NBCUniversal had the huge and rare combination of the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics, inflating last year’s comparable revenue. So while all of the company’s TV revenue is way down (-9.2% for cable and -29.4% for broadcast), accounting adjustments for normalcy show both cable (+3.2%) and broadcast (+7.1%) increasing sans the one-off boost.

At the box office, the performances of Jordan Peele’s “Us” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” helped filmed entertainment revenue rise 7.4% over the comparable three-month period last year. They were partially offset by the performance Q1 2018’s “Fifty Shades Freed.”

This year, home entertainment increased 7.4% as well, thanks to sales of “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch.”

Though it’s anything but a perfect comparison due to the newness of Comcast’s Sky ownership, the company reported Thursday that its giant U.K. media company acquisition added 112,000 customers in Q1. Sky revenues declined 5 percent, though they would have been up a bit without foreign currency fluctuations.

Comcast purchased a majority stake in Sky for $39 billion last year, outbidding Fox. Shortly after taking that “L,” Fox sold its remaining Sky holdings to Comcast for north of $15 billion.

The grandaddy of Comcast’s business is still its cable communications arm, which saw high-speed internet, business services and wireless line items drive revenues up 4.2%. Comcast grew its customer base there from last year, and added 300,000 clients in Q1 2019 alone.

To give a sense of the size disparity between the cable-providing operation and NBCU, cable communications revenue over the recently wrapped 90-day period was $14.3 billion, NBCUniversal’s was $8.3 billion.

“Comcast is off to a terrific start in 2019, financially, operationally and strategically,” Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said on Thursday in a prepared statement. “In the first quarter, we delivered strong EBITDA and earnings per share growth, as well as robust free cash flow. Comcast Cable had the best quarterly EBITDA growth in over a decade, while NBCUniversal again posted favorable results. We also continued to strengthen our leadership position in valuable customer relationships and premium content. Now with the inclusion of Sky, we grew customer relationships by 3.6% year-over-year, including 400,000 net additions in the first quarter, reaching over 54 million relationships in total. Across all parts of the company, our teams are executing at a high level and collaborating to drive growth and innovation. I’m excited about this quarter’s results and the opportunities ahead.”

Comcast stock (CMCSA) closed Wednesday at $41.85 per share, down 14 cents per share. The U.S. stock markets will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

Roberts and other Comcast executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter in greater detail.