Comcast’s first-quarter earnings were marked by a steady increase in cable communications revenue despite continuing video subscriber losses.
Comcast posted a net loss of 121,000 video subscribers (107,000 residential and 14,000 business customers). Those losses outpaced the 96,000 net subscribers lost in the year-ago quarter.
The company ended the quarter with 20.85 million residential video customers.
But Comcast also added 375,000 new broadband subscribers during the quarter and that business, along with growth in wireless and business services, pushed revenues ahead for the cable segment. Cable Communications revenues rose 4.2% to $14.28 billion thanks to 10.1% broadband revenue growth and 21.4% wireless revenue growth that more than offset a 4.5% decline in advertising revenue and a less than 1% decline in video revenues.
The Cable Communications segment adjusted EBITDA rose 9.8% to $5.73 billion.
Comcast also provided some pro forma growth figures for Sky, the European pay TV operator it acquired in 2018. Sky’s consolidated revenue was down 5% as growth in content revenues couldn’t offset declines in the direct-to-consumer and advertising businesses. The company’s adjusted EBITDA fell 17%. But Sky’s subscriber growth contributed to Comcast’s global footprint.
“Now with the inclusion of Sky, we grew customer relationships by 3.6% year-over-year, including 400,000 net additions in the first quarter, reaching over 54 million relationships in total,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts in a statement.
Comcast’s NBCUniversal segment saw drastic declines in revenue due to tough comparisons with the year-ago quarter that included both the Olympics and a Super Bowl. NBCU’s consolidated revenue fell 12.5% to $8.3 billion.
The segments cable networks’ revenue fell 9.2% to approximately $2.87 billion but grew 3.2% when excluding the impact of the Olympics. Broadcast television revenues plummeted 29.4% to about $2.47 billion but grew 7.1% when factoring out both the Super Bowl and the Olympics.