New NBCU Owner Comcast Sees Q2 Revenues Up 51%, Earnings 16%

Revenues from NBC Universal’s cable networks, film studio and theme parks all increase by double digits

Last Updated: August 3, 2011 @ 6:45 AM

Comcast reported strong earnings in its first full quarter since purchasing a majority stake in NBC Universal, which helped drive growth through its cable networks and movie studio.

Q2 revenue for the cable giant exceeded Wall Street estimates, jumping 51 percent to $14.3 billion. NBCU's revenue was 17 percent higher than it would have been last year — considering the current ownership situation.

Comcast, which provides cable television to about a fifth of all homes, bought 51 percent of NBCU from General Electric in January.

"Our overarching goal for NBC and Universal is to build long-term value, and yes there'll be some hits and misses and a bit more volatility, but we continue to believe our timing was just right," CEO Brian Roberts said in a conference call Wednesday morning.

In terms of earnings, Comcast saw its numbers go up almost 16 percent, though that came in below expectations. Earnings per share finished at 37 cents, as compared to the 41-cent projections.

The revenue and earnings increases were driven in part by NBCU's cable holdings, which increased revenue by 12.6 percent to 2.2 billion. Bravo posted its best second quarter ever, while USA continues to be one of cable's most successful networks.

Increased film revenue also helped as hits like "Bridesmaids" and "Fast Five" pushed this quarter's total up 21 percent to $1.25 billion.

Even theme parks played a role thanks to Universal Orlando's "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" and strong performance at Universal Hollywood. The division's revenues went up 22.5 percent to $147 million.

One area in which Comcast saw its numbers fall was in broadcast subscribers — a constant trend among cable companies. The company lost 238,000 pay-TV subscribers, a slightly smaller decline from last year's second quarter, in which 265,000 customers dropped the service.

However, the cable giant generated more revenue per pay-TV customer and added more high-speed Internet subscribers to its rolls.