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Comcast beats earnings, says NBC streaming service to launch in April 2020

Key Points
  • Comcast reports mixed earnings for its second quarter of 2019.
  • The company beat EPS estimates 75 cents per share, reporting 78 cents per share, but misses revenue estimates of $27.06 billion, reporting $26.86 billion.
  • The company has now beat EPS estimates for four consecutive quarters.
Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast Corp.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Comcast on Thursday reported second-quarter earnings that beat expectations but revenue that fell short. It also exceeded estimates on high-speed internet customer additions.

Shares were down 0.6% Thursday from Wednesday's closing price of $44.87. Comcast's market cap is now $202.5 billion.

Here are the key numbers:

  • Earnings per share: 78 cents, adjusted, vs. 75 cents expected, according to a Refinitiv survey of analysts
  • Revenue: $26.86 billion, vs. $27.06 billion expected, according to Refinitiv
  • High-speed internet customers: 209,000 net adds, vs. 208,000 net adds, according to a FactSet consensus estimate

Comcast narrowly beat analyst estimates for net additions of high-speed internet customers, reporting 209,000 compared with FactSet expectations of 208,000.

This marks the fourth consecutive quarter for which Comcast has beat analysts' earnings per share estimates. Shares of the stock have spiked more than 30% in 2019.

Theatrical revenue decreased 53.1% for the quarter from a year earlier. The company said the decline was due to the strength of releases last year including "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom." It said the decline impacted Comcast's filmed entertainment revenue, which fell 14.8% from a year earlier.

Comcast said Sky, the British broadcaster it acquired last year, saw total customer relationships increase 4.4% year over year to 24 million. Sky brought in $4.83 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 3.3% decrease from the second quarter of 2018. Comcast blamed the impact of currency fluctuations for the change and said its constant currency growth represents a 2.4% increase year over year, driven by higher content and direct-to-consumer revenue.

Here's how Comcast's other divisions did for the second quarter:

  • Cable communications accounted for $14.45 billion in total revenue, a 3.9% increase from a year earlier.
  • Cable networks, excluding the Olympics, accounted for $2.95 billion in total revenue, a 2.5% increase from last year's quarter.
  • Broadcast television, excluding the Olympics and Super Bowl, accounted for $2.40 billion in total revenue, a 0.5% gain from a year earlier.
  • Filmed entertainment brought in $1.46 billion in total revenue, a 14.8% decrease from the previous year.
  • Theme Parks brought in $1.46 billion in revenue, a 7.5% increase from a year earlier.

As its video segment has declined, Comcast has shifted its focus on other areas of the business to develop. Comcast acquired British broadcaster Sky last year. CEO Brian Roberts told analysts last quarter the company had been "exploring launching a global NBC-Sky news channel later this year."

The company is also preparing a new free, ad-supported streaming service through its NBCUniversal unit, the parent company of CNBC. On a call with analysts, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said the company has a goal of launching the service next April.

Last month, NBC announced it would remove "The Office" from Netflix in 2021 to stream it exclusively on its own service for five years.

"'The Office' was important to us because according to Nielsen, 'The Office' is the number one show on Netflix," Burke said. "It's about 5% of all of Netflix's volume. It's obviously a show that was on NBC and is tied to the DNA of NBC and we see 'The Office' as being one of the tentpole programs on our platform."

The service will be available to any traditional pay-TV subscribers by logging in through a cable or satellite provider. It will cost about $12 per month if you don't have a cable or satellite subscription. The new service will join a growing field of streaming players including Disney+, Apple and AT&T's WarnerMedia as well as Amazon's Prime Video and Netflix.

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

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