NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock had 42 million signups in the first quarter — up from the 33 million it reported three months ago — benefiting from the recent addition of exclusive domestic streaming rights to WWE Network and The Office.
Results at NBCUniversal’s media division included $91 million of revenue and an adjusted operating loss of $277 million related to Peacock, compared to a loss of $59 million loss the prior year.
Parent Comcast posted a major earnings beat with EPS of $0.71 — up 54% from the year earlier, on revenue of $27.5 billion, up 2.5%.
The stock popped higher on the numbers, up 2.7% in early trade.
CEO Brian Roberts said Comcast is “off to a great start in 2021.”
“Our entire company performed well across the board, highlighted by another strong performance from cable, which posted its third consecutive quarter of double-digit persistent recovery and increasing momentum at NBCUniversal and Sky. Our theme parks once again reached breakeven, excluding Universal Beijing Resort pre-opening costs,” he said.
The parks are all in business since Universal Studios Hollywood reopened on April 16. However, the division still took a massive hit last quarter, with revenue down 33% and EBITDA (operating income), plunging by 170%.
Cable Communications — the biggest segment — saw revenue grow 5.9% to $15.8 billion in the first quarter driven by increases in broadband, wireless, business services and advertising revenue. Total customer Relationships increased by 380,000 to 33.5 million, although it lost 491,000 net video subscribers.
At NBCUniversal, revenue dipped 9% to $7 billion, operating income fell nearly 12% to $1.5 billion.
Studios sales were off slightly (down 0.6%) at $2.4 billion in quarter as lower theatrical revenue was offset in part by content licensing.
Theatrical revenue plunged nearly 90% as movies were pushed back with theaters either still shut or operating at reduced capacity due to Covid. Content licensing revenue increased 14%.
Studio operating profit jumped 66% to $497 with lower revenue was more than offset by lower operating costs – meaning much less spending on advertising, marketing and promotion because there were so few movies released in theaters.
Media – which includes cable and broadcast networks and stations – saw ad revenue fell 3.4%, reflecting ratings declines, partially offset by higher pricing and sports volume, as well as advertising revenue from Peacock, which hadn’t yet launched in the year-earlier quarter.
Distribution revenue rose 9%, driven by contractual rate increases, partially offset by a decline in subscribers.
Other media revenue increased 5.3% due to an increase in revenue from digital properties.
Total Media revenue rose 3.2% to $5 billion. Profit dipped 3.7% to $1.5 on higher programming and production expenses primarily driven by amortization of content at Peacock.
Revenue for Sky increased 10.6% to $5 billion.
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