Losses at Flat Peacock Take a Bite Out of NBCU Media Earnings

NBCUniversal Peacock
(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

NBCUniversal profits grew in the second quarter despite larger losses at direct-to-consumer streaming service Peacock.

Peacock lost $467 million in the quarter, more than the $363 million it lost a year ago. Peacock generated revenues of $444 million, up from $122 million a year ago.

After a strong first quarter, Peacock’s subscribers remained at 13 million after the second quarter, parent company Comcast said in its earnings announcement Thursday.

Also: Comcast Reports Flat Broadband Growth in Q2

The losses left earnings at NBCU’s media business down 2.9% at $1.337 billion. Revenue rose 3.6% to $6.3 billion. Distribution revenues were up 8.4% while advertising revenues were down 1.3%.  NBCU had fewer sports broadcasts than a year ago, when it aired the Stanley Cup Finals. NBCU CEO Jeff Shell said ad revenue would have been up without the change in sports inventory.

Because of a strong showing at its theme parks, NBCUniversal’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 19.5% to $1.9 billion, including losses from Peacock. Revenues were up 18.7% to $9.445 billion.

"Our financial results in the second quarter were very strong across the board, with Cable, NBCUniversal and Sky each delivering solid growth,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.

“At NBCUniversal, terrific results at theme parks fueled our growth in the quarter, and we expect our recent premieres and planned slate of content and live events from our media and studios businesses, including Jurassic World: Dominion, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Nope, Sunday Night Football and The World Cup, to make significant contributions later this year, including to our subscriber growth at Peacock,” Roberts said. "Looking ahead, our company is in an enviable strategic and financial position, with substantial cash flow generation and a strong foundation for innovation."

Overall Comcast’s second quarter net income was $3.396 billion, or 76 cents a share, down 9.2% from $3.738 billion, a year ago.

Revenue overall rose 5.1% to $30 billion. 

Video revenue fell 2.4% to $5.423 billion as the company lost 521,000 video customers since the first quarter. Comcast's broadband customers were flat at 32.2 million, quarter over quarter. ■

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.