Comcast posted higher than anticipated sales in the fourth quarter, bolstered in part by its NBCUniversal division, yet growth was modest in the biggest part of its business.
Cable revenue rose 4.5 per cent in the final three-month period of 2021 to $16.41bn as income from customers in broadband, business services and wireless were offset by losses in advertising and voice revenue.
Comcast fell short of expectations of new high-speed internet customers, adding 212,000, down 60 per cent on the same period last year, and lower than analysts’ expectations.
Revenue from theme parks in its NBCUniversal division almost tripled, with a 191.3 per cent rise, to $1.89bn.
Comcast’s latest earnings report marks a change from 2020 when the strength of its telecoms unit helped offset an 18 per cent drop in revenue at its NBCUniversal unit. Coronavirus regulations meant sports events were cancelled or delayed while theme parks and cinemas were closed.
The company reported net income of $3.1bn today, almost 10 per cent down on the same period the year before. Total revenue over the quarter was $30.4bn, slightly above analysts’ estimates of $29.6bn.
Revenue at Sky, which was bought by Comcast for £30.6bn in 2018, slipped 2.4 per cent to $5.1bn, largely because of lower income from content, driven by a change in licensing agreements in Italy and Germany.
However, Sky’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased 234 per cent to $464m quarter on quarter, largely due to significantly lower operating costs for programming and production, particularly in its sports division.