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NBC’s Rio Olympics Push Comcast Past Q3 Forecasts

Box office revenue drops 21 percent when compared to 2015’s comparable quarter, which had ”Jurassic World“ and ”Minions“

Those Rio Summer Olympics continue to pay off for Brian Roberts and Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal.

The umbrella corporation unveiled its third-quarter 2016 financials early Wednesday morning, topping media analysts forecasts at both its top and bottom lines. Wall Street had forecast earnings per share (EPS) of 91 cents on $21.16 billion in revenue, per a Yahoo Finance consensus. Comcast actually reported 92 cents in earnings on $21.32 billion in revenue.

As a result, the company has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.275 a share on its common stock, payable on January 25, 2017 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on January 4, 2017.

Overall, NBCU’s cable revenue grew 22 percent, while broadcast TV skyrocketed 56.6 percent. The increased take at its theme parks was even higher than that on a percentage basis, clocking in at a plus-60.6 percent. Film revenue bucked the trend, however, slipping 7.9 percent from 2015’s Q3 revenue.

Theatrical revenues alone fell 21.1 percent versus the same 90 days last year, despite “The Secret Life of Pets.” That’s because the slate couldn’t hold up to “Jurassic World” and “Minions,” which rocked the third quarter of 2015. The decline at Filmed Entertainment’s home release arm was even more dramatic, sliding 29.6 percent. Those releases compared unfavorably with “Furious 7” and “Pitch Perfect 2.”

Back to the positives: NBC broadcast saw a 92.4 percent advertising sales jump, thanks to those Olympic Games and the strong TV ratings they command. Distribution and a catchall “other” revenue were no slouches either, jumping 77.5 percent versus last year. Cable channels followed suit, albeit to a lesser degree.

Theme parks can thank “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and the strength of the yen for their big growth.

Meanwhile, revenue for Comcast’s Cable Communications business — the granddaddy of them all — increased 6.9 percent to $12.6 billion in the third quarter of 2016, driven primarily by increases in high-speed Internet, video and business services revenue.

This (understandably) makes Roberts happy.

“I’m pleased to report that our businesses generated double-digit revenue and operating cash flow growth for the third quarter of 2016,” Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation, said in the Q3 report. “Cable delivered solid operating cash flow growth coupled with great customer metrics, and has now added 170,000 video subscribers over the past twelve months.”

“The Rio Olympics were the most profitable and successful games in our history, and demonstrated our ability to deliver an unparalleled entertainment experience through NBCUniversal together with Comcast Cable and the X1 platform,” he added. “NBCUniversal reported operating cash flow growth of over 30 percent, benefitting from the Olympics, continued growth at our Theme Parks, and the theatrical success of ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ this quarter. I’m proud of our consistent execution and excited about the opportunities ahead for Comcast NBCUniversal.”

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

CMCSA stock closed Tuesday at $64.52, down 44 cents from the prior afternoon. Expect that direction to change this morning when the U.S. markets ring the opening bell at 9:30 a.m. ET.