NBCUniversal—in the midst of a Summer Olympics hangover—watched their broadcast television revenues sink a whopping 31% during the third quarter.
NBC’s cable networks revenue also fell 11.5%, but the company said that by excluding Rio Games revenue from the results, broadcast and cable revenues rose 3.7% and 12.3%, respectively.
"I'm very pleased with the Company's operational and financial results during the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA increased 5% despite the impact of the severe storms that affected our operations this year and the uneven comparison due to the Rio Olympics last year,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts in a statement.
“At NBCUniversal, our momentum continued throughout each business unit, including terrific results at Theme Parks and Film, and strength in affiliate fees, retransmission revenues, and content licensing at our TV businesses. At Cable Communications, we continued to drive growth in total customer relationships, deliver excellent high-speed Internet and business services results and make further progress in our efforts to transform the customer experience. Across Comcast NBCUniversal, we are uniquely positioned with a broad range of growth opportunities that set us up well for the future."
NBCUniversal’s overall revenue decreased 12.7% to $8 billion in the third quarter—but again, rose 6% when factoring out the $1.6 billion in revenue generated by the games in 2016. Adjusted EBITDA increased 6% to $2.3 billion, as increases at theme parks, filmed entertainment and cable networks helped fight off a decline at broadcast television.
For the broadcast segment, advertising revenue plummeted 45.6% largely due to the loss of ad revenue generated by Rio Olympics last year. But content licensing revenue increased 20.5%, thanks to the timing of some licensing agreements. Distribution and other revenue rose 2.3%, due to higher retransmission consent fees, which rose more than 70% to $360 million, and adjusted EBITDA fell 15% to $321 million in the third quarter.
At cable, distribution revenue fell 13.4%, partly due to the Olympics drop off but also due to a decline in cable networks subscribers. Advertising revenue dropped 16.5%, but content licensing and other revenue rose 24%. Adjusted EBITDA increased 1.5% to $905 million in the third quarter, when a decrease in programming and production costs helped offset lower revenue.