Comcast Corporation reported strong second-quarter 2015 earnings Thursday, matching estimates on profit and beating on revenue. Earnings per share increased 10.5 percent to 84 cents for the three-month period ended June 30. The Philadelphia cable and media giant’s net income rose to $2.18 billion compared to $2.03 billion last year. Consolidated revenue increased 11.3 percent to $18.74 billion.
Wall Street had expected quarterly net income to rise to $2.1 billion. EPS was expected at 84 cents, compared with 76 cents last year. Revenue was only expected to rise 7.7 percent to $18.14 billion, compared with $16.84 billion last year, according to a poll of analysts from Thomson Reuters.
Broadband Bigger Than Video
Although the second quarter is traditionally a weak season for pay-TV, cord-cutting was not as bad for Comcast as some had expected. The company posted a net loss of 69,000 video subscribers in the quarter, compared to 144,000 for the same quarter last year. Some analysts had expected net losses of up to 120,000.
Comcast said it was the smallest second-quarter net loss in nine years. Brian L. Roberts, the company’s chief executive, credited the deployment of Comcast’s Xfinity X1 platform along with an expansive effort to improve customer service, which the company announced in May.
Comcast gained 180,000 high-speed Internet subscribers in the quarter, compared to 203,000 for the same period last year. It ended the quarter with 22.3 million pay-TV subscribers, 22.5 million broadband subscribers and 11.3 million voice customers. The company’s total customer relationships increased 31,000 to 27.3 million.
Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit produced a number of hugely successful movies this year through Universal Studios. The drag-racing action film “Furious 7,” released on April 3, has taken in a worldwide gross of $1.1 billion, far surpassing box-office projections. “Jurassic World,” the dinosaur blockbuster released on June 12, is so far the highest-grossing movie of the year, with a global total of more than $1.5 billion, according to Box Office Mojo. The blockbuster is on track to be the third-highest-grossing movie of all time.
On the flip side, cable and broadcast TV networks have been struggling with low ratings. NBC’s prime-time viewership in the key 18-49 age demographic was down 14 percent compared with the same period last year, according to an analysis of Nielsen data cited by MoffettNathanson LLC. NBCUniversal’s suite of cable networks saw total-day demo viewership decline 12 percent in the quarter.
Comcast said Thursday revenue for its Filmed Entertainment division soared to 92.7 percent, while operating cash flow more than doubled. Revenue was down 1 percent for cable networks and 0.2 percent for broadcast. Total NBCUniversal revenue rose 20.2 percent to $7.2 billion.
“NBCUniversal had an exceptional quarter,” Roberts said, “led by the record-breaking box office performances of ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘Furious 7’ and continued strong momentum in our theme parks.”
Christopher Zara is a senior writer who covers media and culture. News tips? @christopherzara.