Comcast Tops Q2 Earnings Mark Despite Universal’s Box Office Declines

New Sky parent misses on Wall Street’s revenue forecast


Universal Pictures’ “The Secret Life of Pets 2” could only do so much for parent company Comcast’s second quarter. The media giant shared its second-quarter 2019 financial results early Thursday morning, when the company reported better-than-expected (adjusted) earnings per share, but worse-than-expected revenue.

Wall Street had forecast that Comcast would post earnings per share (EPS) of 75 cents on $27.07 billion in revenue, according to a Yahoo Finance consensus estimate. Comcast actually reported adjusted EPS of 78 cents on $26.86 billion in revenue.

That adjusted earnings per share number is 13% better than it was in the comparable quarter last year — thank goodness for the company’s cable communications business (with revenue growth of 3.9%), still its bread and butter.

All told, NBCUniversal’s revenue slipped, as 2.5% growth from the cable networks and a much slighter uptick from broadcast was offset by a 14.8% decline from filmed entertainment. To be fair to Universal Pictures, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” roared at this time last year.

The USA Network & Co. growth came as a result of better content licensing and distribution fees. Cord-cutters didn’t help that line item, as per usual.

Sky in the UK would have provided a nice boost — if not for the impact of foreign currency. Revenue for the UK media company technically decreased 3.3% in the quarter, though it would have been up 2.4% if not for pesky and unfavorable exchange rates.

“I am very pleased with our terrific second quarter results and the continued, successful execution of our strategy,” Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation, said in a prepared statement accompanying the financial stats. “Each of our businesses demonstrated healthy growth in adjusted EBITDA, contributing to a double-digit increase in adjusted earnings per share. Our company’s consistent, profitable growth is fueled by our leading scale in direct customer relationships and premier content. We now have nearly 55 million high-value direct customer relationships, including the 456,000 net additions in the second quarter, and a vast library of intellectual property and new productions that are extremely popular across generations and geographies. Our teams throughout the company continue to collaborate to make themselves and each other even stronger, and I’m excited about our growth opportunities ahead.”

Shares of Comcast stock (CMCSA) closed Wednesday at $44.87, up 55 cents apiece. The U.S. stock markets reopen at 9:30 a.m.

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