NBCUniversal had a flat second quarter as gains at its broadcast and cable networks units were offset by a drop in the movie business.
According to Comcast, which reported quarterly earnings Wednesday, NBCU’s operating cash flow was down slightly to $1.7 billion. Revenue dipped 1.8% to $7.1 billion.
Cash flow at the broadcast unit, including NBC, rose 70.5% to $395 million.
Revenues rose 17.3% to $2.1 billion. Distribution revenue rose 35%, mainly because of higher retransmission consent fees. Advertising revenue were up 2.9% despite a tough time in sports, where the hockey playoffs didn't measure up to last year and there was no Triple Crown contender in horseracing.
Cash flow at the cable networks rose 8.3% to $944 million. Programming and production costs were up, while advertising, marketing and promotion spending were cut.
Cable network revenues rose 4.7% to $2.6 billion. Distribution revenue was up 6.9% while advertising revenue was flat, with higher pricing offset by lower ratings.
For Comcast as a whole, net income dipped to $2.03 billion, or 83 cents per share, from $2.13 billion, or 84 cents per share, a year ago.
Revenues rose 2.8% to $19.3 billion.
The numbers were slightly higher than Wall Street forecasts.
Despite fears of cord cutting Comcast lost only 4,000 net video customers, its best second quarter in 10 years. (Churn tends to be high in the second quarter, when college years end.) Revenue from video was up 2.8% to $5.6 billion.
For Comcast’s cable unit, cash flow rose 5.7% to $5 billion as revenue rose 6% to $12.4 billion. Programming costs were up 7.4%.
Revenue from high-speed internet was up 8.6%, while voice was down 1.1%. Business services revenue was up 17% and advertising revenue rose 3.5%.
“I am pleased to report excellent results as our momentum continues across our businesses. Our Cable subscriber and financial performance during the quarter was outstanding. We more than tripled our customer relationship net additions, with our best second quarter Internet customer results in eight years and our best second quarter video customer results in over ten years, and we successfully balanced this with strong operating cash flow growth,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.
"Despite an expected difficult comparison to last year's record second quarter film slate, NBCUniversal achieved solid results, driven by strength in our TV businesses and Theme Parks, which benefitted from the successful opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood,” Roberts said. “I am excited about the opportunities ahead for our company as we work together to bring people incredible technology, and memorable experiences, and there is no better example than the Olympic Games. The entire organization is gearing up to deliver the most comprehensive and innovative Olympics coverage in history starting next week, which will showcase the incredible breadth of NBCUniversal together with Comcast Cable and the X1 platform.”