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‘Jurassic World,’ ‘Minions’ Home Releases Propel Comcast Past Sales Targets

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Fast and Furious: Supercharged theme parks bring big bucks too

Comcast saw strong sales in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2015 — with particularly nice increases from NBCUniversal’s Filmed Entertainment and Theme Park Segments — topping Wall Street’s top line expectations. Unfortunately, the parent company and major cable provider fell a bit shy as a whole when it came to actual earnings, despite growing profit year over year.

The Brian Roberts-led Comcast clocked $19.2 billion in sales for Q4, which translates to $0.79 per share in earnings. Wall Street had forecast Earnings Per Share (EPS) of $0.82 on $18.77 billion in revenue, per Yahoo Finance. The EPS consensus estimate over at Zacks was consistent with that mark.

For Comcast’s main business, Cable Communications, High-Speed Internet rose 9.8 percent this quarter, with Video roughly halving that growth for itself. The gap between the two line items was a little wider for the entirety of 2015, but both enjoyed an upward trajectory.

The company’s Business Services segment jumped a more dramatic 18.9 percent in revenue from Q4 to Q4 and was an even plus-20 percent for the year.

On the sexier NBCU sales side, Filmed Entertainment grew a big 25.8 percent from 2014’s fiscal Q4, thanks to the home video releases of “Jurassic World” and “Minions.” The home entertainment segment was up a whopping 74.9 percent — thank goodness, as theatrical revenue dropped 37.5 percent.

Theme Parks did NBCU one better, growing 38.6 percent in the final 90 days of 2015. Comcast can thank Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Hollywood’s Fast and Furious: Supercharged, as well as Halloween Horror Nights at both parks, for higher guest attendance and per capita spending.

Those two NBCU arms were also the biggest drivers on a full-year basis.

To TV, biggest business Broadcast grew 7 percent in sales, with Cable matching about half of that.

“I am exceptionally proud of our results this year, which were driven by strong performances in each of our core businesses,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Roberts said. “At Comcast Cable, our focus on delivering the most innovative products and improving the customer experience led to fantastic operating metrics, including our best video customer results in nine years, and our best high-speed Internet customer results in eight years.”

“NBCUniversal had a remarkable year, with record-breaking results at both Theme Parks and Film, and continued success at NBC, which was number one in primetime for the second consecutive season,” he continued.

Roberts then declared that he was increasing the company dividend by 10 percent, to $1.10 per share. He further announced plans to repurchase $5 billion of Comcast’s stock this year.

CMCSA stock closed Thursday at $54.59 per share, down $1.22, or 2.19 percent.

Pre-market trading saw modest gains early Wednesday morning after the mega-media company dropped its SEC-filed paperwork.

Senior management will hold a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the financials further.