NBCUniversal Reports Higher Third-Quarter Financials Driven by Olympics

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Cable giant Comcast Corp. on Friday reported improved third-quarter financials for its cable systems and its entertainment arm NBCUniversal.

The entertainment company, led by CEO Steve Burke, recorded higher quarterly revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

NBCUniversal posted revenue of $6.8 billion, up 31.2 percent over the year-ago period. The latest Summer Games helped drive the revenue growth. Excluding them, revenue was up 8.3 percent.

Operating cash flow rose 19.9 percent to $1.1 billion. The figure included $120 million of operating cash flow generated by the Olympics, on which the company has said it would roughly break even. The company said the positive contribution from the Olympics "reflects the settlement of a $237 million unfavorable contract recorded in acquisition accounting in 2011," but didn't provide further details. Excluding the Olympics impact, operating cash flow increased 7.3 percent in the latest period.

Comcast also reported improved financials that exceeded expectations. Revenue rose 15.4 percent to $16.5 billion. The company's third-quarter profit increased from $1.2 billion to nearly $3.0 billion. That included $319 million resulting from the sale of its investment in A&E Television Networks.

The cable giant said its cable systems lost 117,000 video subscribers in the latest quarter, fewer than the year-ago loss of 165,000.

NBCUniversal's cable networks unit revenue rose 3.2 percent to $2,.2 billion with operating cash flow up 7.6 percent to $809 million driven by an increase in distribution revenue, flat advertising revenue and virtually unchanged programming and marketing costs.

Broadcast TV revenue jumped 83.8 percent to $2.8 billion as the Olympics drove the segment's performance above the cable networks group that typically accounts for the bulk of NBCUniversal's financials. The figure included $1.2 billion of revenue generated by the 2012 London Olympics. The broadcast unit swung to an operating cash flow profit of $88 million from a year-ago loss of $7 million.

Film revenue rose 23.6 percent to $1.4 billion as operating cash flow jumped 31.1 percent to $72 million. The company cited higher theatrical revenue from the strong box office performance of Ted and The Bourne Legacy. Theme parks financials also improved.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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