Comcast earnings beat Street estimates on revenue boost from NBC Olympics and Super Bowl coverage

  • The 379,000 high-speed internet customers added in the first quarter is 8.3 percent higher than the previous quarter.
  • Revenue for Comcast's NBCUniversal totaled $9.53 billion, bolstered by coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl.
  • Comcast is shifting focus to its high-speed internet and filmmaking businesses as cord-cutting weighs on its legacy cable division.

Comcast on Wednesday beat Wall Street estimates for first-quarter earnings, nudged past revenue predictions by strong numbers from its NBCUniversal business.

Here's how the company did compared with what analysts expected:

  • Earnings: 62 cents per share vs. 59 cents per share forecast by Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $22.791 billion vs. $22.744 billion forecast by Thomson Reuters
  • Net increase of 379,000 high-speed internet customers vs. 367,000 forecast by FactSet consensus estimates

Comcast has been shifting focus to its high-speed internet and filmmaking businesses as cord-cutting weighs on its legacy cable business.

The 379,000 high-speed internet customers added in the first quarter is 8.3 percent higher than the previous quarter, but 11.7 percent lower than the first quarter of 2017.

"The broadband market is expanding as more Americans adopt high-speed data. Currently only about 80 percent of American households subscribe to internet access and we believe this number will continue to expand," CFO Mike Cavanagh said on the company's earnings call. "We have an opportunity in our footprint through new home formation and by extending our plant within our footprint."

It was the NBCUniversal segment, though, that posted the strongest growth in the first quarter.

NBCUniversal, owner of film studios, theme parks, as well as NBC News and CNBC, brought in $9.53 billion, bolstered by coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl.

That represents a 21 percent year-over-year upside and far outpaces expected revenue for the division.

"NBCUniversal continues to grow at a faster pace than any of us originally imagined," CEO Brian Roberts said on the earnings call. "On the back of these incredible big events, NBC is on track to finish number one for the fifth consecutive year in demo and is number one in total viewers for the first time in 16 years."

Meanwhile, Comcast continues to diversify. The company earlier Wednesday formalized its $31 billion bid for British broadcaster Sky, and earlier this month announced it's getting into health care.

Shares of Comcast rose more than 3 percent in morning trading.