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Comcast reports better TV ad revenues in Q3

MUMBAI: Comcast’s entertainment arm NBCUniversal’s TV unit has reported higher TV advertising revenues in the third quarter as compared to the first half of the year.

Mike-Cavanagh-In the earnings conference call, Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh said that the advertising revenue increased 3 per cent despite the difficult comparison created by one less NFL game this quarter compared to last year.

“The fact that we were still able to report modestly positive advertising growth speaks to the strong scatter market with the third quarter trending better than the first-half of the year. Importantly, this higher demand in the scatter market has continued into the fourth quarter,” he said.

Meanwhile, the company stated that its cable networks ad trends have been affected by weaker ratings at some networks.

Cavanagh mentioned, “At Cable Networks, advertising revenue grew 2 per cent, as the positive contribution from NASCAR advertising more than offset what would have been a modest decrease in advertising revenue overall since rating declines across many of our networks more than offset increases in prices and volume.”

But NBC Sports Network put up its most-watched third quarter ever, due to NASCAR’s debut and continued growth in viewership for the English Premier League.

Cavanagh elaborated that cable advertising revenue was relatively flat during the third quarter, due to lower political revenue. Excluding political, the cable ad revenue increased 8 per cent, primarily driven by increased media advertising and ahead of the launch of the fall TV season. This level of increased spending was timing related and should be lower in the fourth quarter.

However, NBCUniversal reported improved third-quarter financials, driven by growth in its film unit, which was boosted by box-office collections from movies like ‘Minions’ and ‘Jurassic World’.

Brian-RobertsComcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said, “At film, the third quarter was remarkable in many ways and continued the terrific run we’ve had this year. Minions and Jurassic world sustained our box office streak into the third quarter.”

While the company has few theatrical releases in the fourth quarter, it believes it will continue to benefit from their successful film slate, as these films move to the home entertainment and content licensing windows.

Giving an overall view on the results, Roberts also said, “Our performance was broad-based with broadband, business services, film, and theme parks leading the way. Over in Cable Communications, our investments in our network, our X1 platform, and customer service are all paying off. Our operating cash flow is increasing. We’re reinvesting back in the businesses for growth, and also looking for strategic investments along the way, such as Universal Studios Japan. And importantly, we’re returning a significant amount of cash to our shareholders.”

The management said that as they look beyond 2015, they expect programming cost growth to remain elevated.

“We plan to continue to add more content out of home rights, stacking rights and back seasons, ensuring that we have the most compelling and competitive video product on the market,” the company said.