Comcast Tops Q1 Earnings Estimates Thanks to Winter Olympics and Super Bowl

Major TV events added $1.6 billion in revenue


Comcast’s first-quarter earnings for 2018 got a big boost from a pair of high-profile TV events.

The media conglomerate saw its revenue increase 10.7 percent to $22.79 billion and posted earnings per share (EPS) of 62 cents, topping Wall Street forecasts of $22.75 billion and an EPS of 59 cents, per a Yahoo Finance-compiled consensus. Comcast also announced Wednesday morning its $31 billion offer to acquire Sky.

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LII added incremental revenue of $1.6 billion to Comcast’s TV businesses. The Olympics accounted for $1.15 billion, while the Super Bowl brought in another $423 million in revenue. Total revenue at NBCUniversal increased 21.3 percent to $9.53 billion, the company reported.

Comcast’s cable networks saw a 21 percent increase in revenue, primarily due to increases in distribution and advertising revenue from the Olympics. Without the $378 million revenue from the Games, cable networks revenue increased 6.6 percent.

At NBC broadcast, revenue jumped 58.3 percent, including an 84.9 percent spike in advertising revenue. The Winter Olympics added an additional $770 million in revenue, with another $423 million coming from Super Bowl LII. Excluding those two figures, NBC’s broadcast TV revenue increased 4.3 percent.

Comcast’s cable communications arm grew 3.6 percent, driven primarily by increases in high-speed internet and business services, which help offset decreases in video and voice revenue. Comcast shed 96,000 residential video customers for the quarter.

Filmed entertainment revenue at the company decreased 16.3 percent, largely due to a 35 percent decline at the box office. Comcast blamed fewer movies this quarter compared to last year, along with under-performance from films including “Pacific Rim Uprising” and “Fifty Shades Freed.”

Theme park revenue increased 14.5 percent due to higher per capita spending, which benefited from the timing of the spring holidays. Comcast also attributed the increase to strong performances from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood, Minion Park in Japan and Volcano Bay in Orlando.

“Comcast NBCUniversal is off to a great start in 2018 with over 10 percent revenue growth in the first quarter. At Cable Communications, our steady increase in customer relationships continued, balanced with solid growth in EBITDA, reflecting momentum in our high-speed internet and business services segments,” said Comcast chairman and CEO, Brian L. Roberts, in a statement accompanying the earnings release.

“NBCUniversal delivered double-digit EBITDA growth, fueled by impressive results at our theme parks, as well as our TV businesses’ successful broadcasts of the NFL’s Super Bowl LII and the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics,” he continued. “The Olympics were an incredible event that showcased our capabilities and collaboration throughout the company. NBCU’s amazing presentation was the most comprehensive in Winter Games’ history with over 2,400 hours of coverage across broadcast, cable networks and digital, and Cable’s best-in-class technology delivered an unparalleled viewing experience, resulting in 26 percent higher ratings among our X1 customers than the national average.”

“I’m proud of our teams across Comcast NBCUniversal and believe we are well-positioned for the future,” Roberts concluded.

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