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Comcast beats earnings expectations, reports Peacock sign-ups grow to 42 million

NBCUniversal kicks off it’s new Peacock streaming service.

Todd Williamson | Peacock | NBCUniversal | Getty Images

Comcast reported first-quarter results before-the-bell on Thursday that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Shares were up more than 2.5% in the premarket.

Here are the key numbers:

  • Earnings per share: 76 cents adj. vs 58 cents expected in a Refinitiv survey of analysts
  • Revenue: $27.21 billion vs $26.7 billion per Refinitiv
  • High-speed internet customers: 461,000 vs 396,000 net adds expected in a FactSet survey

Peacock, the company’s streaming service, reached 42 million sign-ups across the U.S., compared to 33 million from the fourth quarter. Comcast credited the addition of the popular series “The Office” and its exclusive domestic streaming rights to the WWE Network for the growth in Peacock sign-ups.

The company also had its best first-quarter result on record for total customer relationships, adding 380,000 to 33.5 million. It added 461,000 high-speed internet customers.

Meanwhile, the company’s studios division was hampered by the pandemic, which restricted movie theater operations and shut down some movie production.

Studios revenue decreased 0.6% to $2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2021, primarily reflecting lower theatrical revenue. Theatrical revenue decreased 87.7%, driven by the deferral of big-screen releases, theater closures and capacity limits.

At the same time its content licensing revenue increased 14.1%, primarily due to a new licensing agreement for content that became exclusive to Peacock.

Comcast’s theme park division, hit by closures and capacity reductions stemming from the pandemic, saw revenue decrease 33.1% to $619 million.

Comcast said its Europe-based Sky division continued to add customers amid renewed lockdowns in Europe, adding 221,000 to reach 23.4 million. That makes for its best first quarter result in six years, the company said, while the segment’s revenue increased 10.6%.

Here’s how Comcast’s divisions did for the quarter compared with a year earlier:

  • Cable communications accounted for $15.81 billion in revenue, up 5.9%
  • Media brought in $5.04 billion, up 3.2%
  • Theme parks accounted for $619 million, down 33.1%
  • Studios reported $2.4 billion, down 0.6%

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.

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