Olympics Boost NBCU Cash Flow in First Quarter

With the Sochi Olympics generating $1.1 billion in revenue, NBCUniversal chalked up a 29% increase in revenue and a 38% increase in operating cash flow during the first quarter.

NBCU’s cash flow rose to $1.3 billion in the first quarter from $953 million a year ago as revenues rose to $6.9 billion from $5.3 billion. Without the Olympics, the company said, revenues were up 8.1%.

Broadcast television jumped to $122 million in operating cash flow during the quarter, reversing a $35 million loss last year. Broadcast revenue was up 73% to $2.6 billion. Without the Olympics, it was up 17%, with a 15.8% increase in advertising revenue and higher retransmission consent fees.

NBCU’s cable networks had a 4.2% increase in operating cash flow to $895 million from $859 million a year ago. Revenues were up 12.6% to $2.5 billion. Without the Olympics, revenues were up 1%, as distribution revenue rose 4.4% and ad revenue dipped 1.4%. Costs for sports programming was up and investment in original programming continued.

"At NBCUniversal, we had another superb quarter with double-digit revenue and operating cash flow growth driven by the tremendously successful Sochi Olympics and the best season-to-date broadcast ratings in a decade," said Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.

Overall, Comcast reported net income of $1.871 billion, or 71 cents a share, up from $1.437 billion, 54 cents a share. Revenue rose 13.7% to $17.4 billion.

"Our operating momentum is continuing as we enter 2014 and is highlighted by our second consecutive quarter of video customer growth, as well as strength in high-speed Internet and business services. Our focus on the customer experience continues to drive our success as we deliver the most innovative products in the industry and make measurable progress in customer service,” Roberts said.

"Overall, the company is performing well and the more planning we do for our proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, the more excited we are by the opportunities for the combined company. Comcast has tremendous momentum right now, and we believe the TWC transaction will strengthen a truly world-class organization that will be well positioned to compete and yield meaningful benefits to our customers, employees and shareholders," 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.