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Comcast earnings beat estimates but sales fall short, high speed internet revenue up 10%

Lauren Feiner
  • Comcast reports adjusted earnings per share of 76 cents vs. 68 cents expected in a Refinitiv survey of analysts.
  • Revenue of $26.86 billion beat the $27.2 billion expected in the survey.
  • Closely watched data on new high-speed internet customers also surpasses projections.

Comcast CMCSA  on Thursday reported first-quarter earnings that surpassed expectations, but revenue fell short. Closely watched data on new high-speed internet customers beat projections.

The stock fell 1% in premarket trading.

Here are the numbers Comcast reported:

  • Earnings per share: 76 cents, adjusted vs. 68 cents expected in a Refinitiv survey of analysts
  • Revenue: $26.86 billion vs. $27.2 billion expected in the survey
  • High-speed internet customers: 375,000 vs. 353,000 net adds expected, according to a FactSet consensus estimate

Comcast said its revenue miss was due in part to the difficulty in comparing this quarter with the first quarter of 2018, which included NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl. Comcast had beaten estimates on the top and bottom lines for the last two quarters and has seen its stock rise 25% over the past 12 months.

Comcast said this quarter reflected its best quarterly EBITDA cable growth in over 10 years with a 9.8% increase to $5.7 billion. The increase reflects higher revenue despite a 0.8% increase in operating expenses.

With analysts anticipating a decline in Comcast's video segment, the company has laid out plans to branch out further into streaming. This quarter, Comcast lost 121,000 video customers compared with 96,000 during the same period last year.

Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC, announced earlier this year that it will debut its free, ad-supported streaming service in the first quarter of 2020. The service will be available to any traditional pay-TV subscriber by logging in through a cable or satellite provider. Everyone else can sign up for about $12 per month, a person familiar with the company's plans told CNBC shortly after the announcement. NBCUniversal's service will be up against established streaming services like Netflix NFLX and Amazon AMZN 's Prime Video, as well as newer players coming later this year from Disney DIS , Apple AAPL and AT&T T 's WarnerMedia.

Comcast reported revenue of $8.3 billion for NBCUniversal, a 12.5% decrease from the previous year, which had included $1.6 billion in incremental revenue based on the Olympics and Super Bowl.

Comcast's report included performance for British broadcaster Sky for the second time following its acquisition last year. Comcast reported pro forma first-quarter revenue for Sky of $4.8 billion, driven mainly by higher content revenue. Sky added 112,000 customer relationships for the quarter, which Comcast said reflected growth in all of its markets.

Here's how Comcast's other divisions did for the first quarter:

  • Cable communications accounted for $14.3 billion in total revenue.
  • Cable networks, excluding the Olympics, accounted for $2.9 billion in total revenue.
  • Broadcast television, excluding the Olympics and Super Bowl, accounted for $2.5 billion in total revenue.
  • Filmed entertainment brought in $1.8 billion in total revenue.
  • Theme Parks brought in $1.3 billion in revenue.


Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.

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