Comcast Stock Surges on Q4 Growth

Comcast stock was up by 7% in early trading Wednesday after it reported stronger than expected Q4 results and offered some deeper insight into its planned NBC streaming service.

Comcast stock rose as high as $37.42 each (up 7%) in early trading Wednesday after reporting Q4 results that beat analysts expectations. The stock was trading at $36.51 per share (up 4.4%) by the early afternoon on Jan. 23.

During a conference call with analysts, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke offered a glimpse into Comcast’s plans to launch an NBCU-branded streaming service in 2020.

NBCU plans to launch the service primarily for free to pay TV subscribers in the U.S. (about 80% of TV homes) and to Sky satellite subscribers in Europe -- customers without a pay TV subscription will pay a nominal fee some time next year. The service will have a “very light ad load of targetable ads,” said Burke.

“We think this approach has a much better chance to get scale quickly,” Burke continued. “There’s nothing better than free for consumers. And we have enough product that consumers are viewing on other platforms online for free and for charges.”

The streaming service will be based on technology from Comcast’s latest purchase -- British satellite TV giant Sky -- and so far the response from potential partners and participants has been strong.

Related: Comcast Completes Buy of Majority of Sky Shares

“The amount of media companies and potential partners that have reached out to me and to us and to [Sky CEO] Jeremy [Darroch] and his team since we announced Sky is surprising and overwhelmingly positive in my opinion,” Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said. “Sky’s position is quite unique. At the highest level it gives the company a reach with a very healthy business that is quite enviable and desired. That’s changed the dialogue we’re having with our partners and within our own company. And the first evidence of that is the global OTT that Steve [Burke] just described.”

Darroch added that Sky will be deploying Comcast’s XFi service into the satellite company’s broadband launch in Italy, and will incorporate the Comcast Voice platform into its Sky Q product.

“We’re only 15 weeks in, but I think we’re starting to see some really important tangible evidence of working together as part of the broader group,” Darroch said on the call.