Comcast Earnings Jump Despite Peacock Losses, Cord-Cutting

A general view of the Comcast Center in Philadelphia
A general view of the Comcast Center in Philadelphia. (Image credit: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images for Comcast)

Comcast reported higher second-quarter earnings as strong performances at its theme parks and movie studio more than offset losses at Peacock, cord-cutting and a weak ad market.

The company lost another 543,000 video customers and 19,000 broadband subscribers, but added 316,000 domestic wireless customers.

Streaming service Peacock had $651 million in second-quarter red ink compared to a $467 million loss a year ago and $704 million in the first quarter.

The number of Peacock subscribers increased to 24 million, double a year ago and up from 22 million at the end of the first quarter. 

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Peacock revenue was up 85% from a year ago to $820 million. Peacock generated $685 million in revenue in the first quarter. 

For all of Comcast, second-quarter net income rose 25% to $4.2 billion, or $1.02 a share, compared to $3.4 billion, or 76 cents a share a year ago.

Overall revenue rose 1.7% to $30.5 billion.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations.

At NBCUniversal, now known as Comcast’s Content and Experiences business, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBIDTA) rose 7.5% to $2.2 billion as revenue rose. 4% to $10.9 billion.

Profits at the media business were down 18.2% to $1.2 billion, including the $651 million loss at Peacock.

Media-business revenues edged up 0.1% to $6.2 billion, with domestic advertising revenue down 4.9% and domestic distribution revenue up 2.2% to $2.6 billion.

EBITDA at Comcast’s Connectivity and Platforms division rose 4.4% to $8.3 billion. 

Revenue was flat at $20.4 billion. 

Revenue from video fell 5.8% from a year ago to $7.4 billion. Revenue from domestic broadband rose 4.4% to $6.4 billion. Domestic wireless revenue jumped 20.4% to $869 million. 

Advertising revenue fell 10.9% to $993 million. 

“The consistent investments we've been making in our growth businesses continue to generate strong results and position us extremely well both now and into the future,“ Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said. “Second-quarter operational and financial performance was excellent and included a double-digit increase in Adjusted EPS and significant free cash flow generation.”

Roberts noted the performance of the company’s theme parks; its film business, starring The Super Mario Bros. Movie; and growth in subscribers at Peacock.

“Our experienced and expert management team is executing at an exceptional level, and our long-term-oriented growth strategy is clearly working,” Roberts said. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.