As expected, NBCUniversal’s broadcast television business got a massive boost during the first quarter from having both Super Bowl LII and the 2018 Winter Olympics on the network.
NBC’s broadcast television revenue rose 58.3% to $3.5 billion as advertising revenue increased 84.9% thanks to the broadcasts of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and the Super Bowl. Distribution and other revenue increased 42.9% due to the broadcast of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics as well as higher retransmission consent fees. Excluding the Olympics and the Super Bowl, the segment's revenue rose just 4.3%.
The broadcast segment’s adjusted EBITDA rose 57.5% to $507 million as higher revenue was partially offset by increased programming and production costs primarily associated the Olympics and the Super Bowl.
“NBCUniversal delivered double-digit EBITDA growth, fueled by impressive results at our Theme Parks, as well as our TV businesses’ successful broadcasts of the NFL’s Super Bowl LII and the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. The Olympics were an incredible event that showcased our capabilities and collaboration throughout the company,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts in a statement. “NBCUniversal’s amazing presentation was the most comprehensive in Winter Games history with over 2,400 hours of coverage across broadcast, cable networks, and digital, and Cable’s best-in-class technology delivered an unparalleled viewing experience, resulting in 26% higher ratings among our X1 customers than the national average.”
NBCU’s cable networks segment also benefited from the Winter Olympics. The segment’s revenue rose 21% to $3.2 billion as distribution revenue rose 20.8% thanks to the Olympics and some contractual rate. Still, some of NBC’s cable networks experienced declines in subscribers. The cable network segment also saw its advertising revenue rise 19.6%, primarily due to the broadcast of the Olympics. Without the Olympics, cable networks revenue rose 6.6%. The segment’s adjusted EBITDA rose 13.7% to $1.3 billion.
Overall, NBCUniversal’s revenue increased 21.3% to $9.5 billion during the quarter and adjusted EBITDA increased 13.1% to $2.3 billion.