Economy, Hurricane Have Comcast Looking Ahead to Tough 4th Quarter

Mike Cavanagh Comcast
Comcast president and CFO Mike Cavanagh (Image credit: Comcast)

Comcast is expecting a tough fourth quarter as it digs out from Hurricane Ian in Florida and faces headwinds from a tough economy that will necessitate cost cuts and job eliminations.

Speaking on the company’s third-quarter earnings call, Comcast president and chief financial officer Mike Cavanagh said an “increasingly challenged economic environment” would force belt-tightening.

“We expect we will be taking severance and other cost-reduction related changes in the fourth quarter in anticipation of expense reductions,” Cavanagh said.

Those actions would provide financial benefits to the company in 2023 and beyond, he said.

Also: Comcast Reports Loss on $8.6 Billion Write-Down on Sky Assets

Comcast’s NBCU unit sees growth (excluding Peacock) being “impacted by a gradual acceleration in pay TV cord-cutting, as well as some deterioration in the ad market reflecting broader economic uncertainty,” Cavanagh said.

Comcast Cable was the provider hit hardest by Hurricane Ian in Florida. Cavanagh said the destruction of homes and businesses would result in the company having a net loss of broadband customers in the fourth quarter.

“Hurricane Ian has impacted our footprint in Southwest Florida, causing outages and damage to our cable network that our cable team is still repairing,” he said. 

Despite restoration efforts, there will be tens of thousands of residences that won’t be turned back on during the quarter.

Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson said the response to the hurricane by employees was “incredible,” with people getting to work immediately even though there was damage to their own homes.

“We run the business very locally,” he said, with people living in the community. ”They started rebuilding and repairing right away.” ■

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.