Comcast reported its Q2 earnings Thursday, with its NBCUniversal division reporting some huge gains but also underscoring the challenge of making streaming into a profitable business. Overall, Comcast handily smashed Wall Street expectations in both revenue and earnings per share.
Peacock now has 24 million subscribers, up from 22 million last quarter and 13 million a year ago, and its revenue rose by 85 percent to $820 million. But the streaming service continues to lose money, reporting a loss of $651 million in the quarter, compared to a loss of $704 million last quarter, and $444 million a year ago.
And the advertising market continues to be challenged, with the media division reporting an advertising decline of 4.9 percent compared to last year. Overall media revenue was essentially flat, thanks to improved distribution revenue (including the higher subs at Peacock).
But there was also very good news, with The Super Mario Bros. movie driving theatrical revenues up by 66 percent year over year to $913 million. And in the theme parks division, there were new records in revenue and profitability, with the division hauling in $2.2 billion in revenue, and an adjusted EBITDA of $833 million.
“We generated the best quarterly Adjusted EBITDA ever at Theme Parks, had the second-highest grossing animated film of all time in worldwide box office revenue with Super Mario Bros., and nearly doubled paid Peacock subscribers year-over-year,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “At the same time, we returned a healthy amount of capital to shareholders and maintained an enviable balance sheet. Our experienced and expert management team is executing at an exceptional level, and our long-term-oriented growth strategy is clearly working.”
Overall revenue in Comcast’s content and experiences division (which is mostly NBCUniversal) was $10.9 billion, with $2.2 billion in adjusted EBITDA.
Comcast also reported net video subscriber losses of 543,000 as cord-cutting continues to accelerate.
Q2 was the first full quarter at NBCUniversal without a full time CEO, as Comcast president Mike Cavanagh added oversight of the division following the termination of Jeff Shell in April. The company has since restructured, giving added responsibility to Donna Langley, Mark Lazarus, and Cesar Conde.
More to come.