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Comcast’s Quarterly Revenue Tops Estimates, Lifted by Cable Growth

By Eva Mathews and Helen Coster

The pandemic has created a distinction between digital businesses and those that are more reliant on in-person interactions. Comcast has a mix of both.

Total revenue rose 20.4% to $28.55 billion in the quarter, beating analysts’ estimates of $27.18 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company, which is the largest cable operator in the United States, lost 399,000 video customers in the most recent quarter, fewer than the 490,000 loss analysts expected.

It gained 354,000 broadband customers as customers continued to work and learn from home, the strongest second quarter on record, compared with Factset estimates of 272,000.

During its earnings call, the company said it expects total broadband net additions for 2021 to increase “mid-teens” relative to 2019.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal has aggressively pushed its digital platforms this year and views the Olympic Games as a vital driver of subscribers for its Peacock streaming service.

On Thursday, the company said Peacock had 54 million sign-ups as of this week, including over 20 million active monthly accounts. Comcast is including Peacock at no additional cost for its 20 million Sky customers across Europe later this year, Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts said.

NBC’s broadcast of the Tokyo Olympic Games opening ceremony drew 16.9 million viewers, the smallest U.S. television audience for the event in the past 33 years, according to Nielsen data provided by NBCUniversal.

Both the average primetime TV audience and the total audience on TV and streaming combined for the subsequent four nights declined on every night except Sunday.

Theme park revenue amounted to $1.1 billion during the quarter versus just $136 million a year ago, when stay-at-home orders crippled the business.

Universal’s big-budget action spectacle “F9” and animated feature “Boss Baby 2” bolstered NBC’s studios business, which had been hammered by COVID-related production delays and theater closures. Revenue rose 8.4% to $2.22 billion.

Comcast posted a nearly 33% rise in ad sales at NBCUniversal Media, with businesses getting back to spending after a year of slashed marketing budgets.

The company reported adjusted earnings per share of 84 cents in the second quarter, beating estimates of 67 cents.

Comcast shares rose 1.2% in premarket trading.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru and Helen Coster in New YorkEditing by Jan Harvey and Mark Potter)