Comcast/NBCUniversal today reported that its broadcast television revenue for the third quarter jumped 56.6 percent to $3.1 billion and contributed to operating cash flow jumping $228 million to $378 million.
The media conglomerate said the increase was a reflection of higher advertising and distribution, and that it was partially offset by a decline in content licensing revenue. A big driver for NBCUniversal during the third quarter was the Summer Olympic Games in Rio, which helped boost advertising revenue by 92.4 percent. The Olympics also helped increase distribution and other revenue by 77.5 percent.
“The Rio Olympics were the most profitable and successful games in our history, and demonstrated our ability to deliver an unparalleled entertainment experience through NBCUniversal together with Comcast Cable and the X1 platform,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts in a statement. “NBCUniversal reported operating cash flow growth of over 30%, benefitting from the Olympics…I'm proud of our consistent execution and excited about the opportunities ahead for Comcast NBCUniversal."
Meanwhile, content licensing revenue decreased 32 percent, which Comcast said was primarily due to the timing of content provided under licensing agreements. In fact, without the extra $1.2 billion of revenue coming in from the broadcast of the Olympics, NBCU’s Broadcast Television division actually saw a 3.6 percent decrease in revenue.
In all, Comcast/NBCU’s consolidated revenues for the quarter came in at $21.3 billion. Analysts like New Street Research’s Jonathan Chaplin gave a lot of the credit to NBCU’s performance.
“Revenues came in above the Street at $21.3BN (NSR & Consensus: $21.2BN), driven largely by strength at NBCU, which was helped by the Olympics and the DWA deal closing during the quarter. OCF was a touch better than consensus at $6.83BN (NSR: $6.87BN & Consensus: $6.80BN), thanks to NBCU,” wrote Chaplin.
Even with Comcast’s upbeat quarterly report, the industry is watching the company carefully to see how or if it will respond to AT&T’s bid for Time Warner that, should it be approved, will make AT&T a vertically integrated media group on par with Comcast/NBCU.
But as MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett points out, Comcast and NBCU are doing more than fine at the moment. In addition to Comcast’s continued video subscriber growth, Moffett noted that NBCU is swimming along nicely with its multiple entertainment divisions.
“…At NBCU, their broadcast network continues to improve, their movie studio has consistently over-delivered, and their theme parks have been perhaps the best performing asset in the whole company,” wrote Moffett.