Comcast Corp’s third-quarter revenue edged past Wall Street’s expectations on Thursday, thanks to a steady rebound in its theme parks and studios businesses, but sluggish broadband subscriber growth and a decline in advertising sales continue to weigh on the media company.
Comcast added 14,000 broadband customers in the quarter, compared to the hundreds of thousands it gained at the peak of the pandemic, due to competition from telecom giants that have been promoting attractive offers on wireless and internet plans to price-conscious Americans.
On a call with investors Thursday, Comcast executives acknowledged the impact of rising inflation and said they expected media growth to be impacted by pay-TV cord cutting, a pullback in advertising spend and higher costs related to the broadcast of the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament.
The media giant also expects to take a hit to its cable networks from the damage caused by Hurricane Ian, including broadband customer losses.
Comcast’s media unit, NBCUniversal, reported a 35.1% drop in advertising sales, compared to the same quarter a year ago when it broadcast the Olympics and Super Bowl. It reported 15 million paid subscribers for its Peacock streaming service, up from 13 million the previous quarter.
Total company revenue fell 1.5% to $29.85 billion in the quarter, compared with estimates of $29.65 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
Net loss attributable to Comcast was $4.6 billion, or $1.05 per share, compared with a profit of $4.04 billion, or 86 cents per share, a year earlier.
The net loss was partly due to an $8.6 billion goodwill impairment charge in its UK pay-TV company, Sky.
However, excluding items, Comcast earned 96 cents per share, beating expectations of 90 cents.
Comcast’s studios business’ profit tripled to $537 million in the quarter, driven by the success of films such as “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru”. Nasdaq