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NBCUniversal Q3 revenue rises marginally to $5.9 bn

MUMBAI: US media conglomerate NBCUniversal’s revenue rose marginally by 1.2 per cent to $5.9 billion in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the corresponding quarter of 2013. Revenue growth in broadcast television and theme parks was partially offset by lower theatrical revenue from the film segment.

Operating cash flow increased 13.3 per cent to $1.4 billion compared to $1.3 billion in the third quarter of 2013, driven by strong results at broadcast television and theme parks.

For the nine months ended 30 September 2014, NBCUniversal’s revenue increased by 9.5 per cent to $18.8 billion compared to $17.2 billion in 2013. Excluding $1.1 billion generated by the Sochi Olympics in the first quarter of 2014, NBCUniversal’s revenue increased by 3 per cent. Operating cash flow increased by 22.6 per cent to $4.2 billion compared to $3.4 billion in the first nine months of 2013.

Cable networks: For the third quarter of 2014, revenue from the cable networks segment increased by 0.7 per cent to $2.3 billion compared to $2.2 billion in the third quarter of 2013, reflecting a 5.1 per cent increase in distribution revenue, partially offset by a 4.6 per cent decline in ad revenue, primarily due to a decline in ratings. Operating cash flow increased by 1.8 per cent to $868 million compared to $853 million in the third quarter of 2013, reflecting higher revenue and flat operating costs, even as the company continues investing in programming.

For the nine months ended 30 September 2014, revenue from the cable networks segment increased by 5.2 per cent to $7.2 billion compared to $6.9 billion in 2013. Excluding $257 million generated by the Sochi Olympics in the first quarter of 2014, revenue increased by 1.5 per cent. Operating cash flow increased 4.1 per cent to $2.7 billion compared to $2.6 billion in the first nine months of 2013.

Broadcast television: For the third quarter of 2014, revenue from broadcast television increased by 7.7 per cent to $1.8 billion compared to $1.6 billion in the third quarter of 2013, driven by an increase in ad revenue due to strong ratings at the NBC broadcast network, as well as higher retransmission consent fees and an increase in content licensing revenue.

Operating cash flow increased $108 million to $142 million compared to $34 million in the third quarter of 2013, reflecting higher revenue and a slight increase in operating costs and expenses.

For the nine months ended 30 September 2014, broadcast television revenue increased by 26.9 per cent to $6.2 billion compared to $4.9 billion in 2013. Excluding $846 million generated by the Sochi Olympics in the first quarter of 2014, revenue increased 9.6 per cent. Operating cash flow increased $299 million to $504 million compared to $205 million in the first nine months of 2013.

Film: For the third quarter of 2014, revenue from the film segment decreased by 15.2 per cent to $1.2 billion compared to $1.4 billion in the third quarter of 2013, reflecting a decline in theatrical revenue primarily due to the strong box-office performance of ‘Despicable Me 2’ in the third quarter of 2013. Operating cash flow decreased by 20.3 per cent to $151 million compared to $189 million in the third quarter of 2013, reflecting lower revenue, partially offset by a decrease in the amortisation of film costs and reduced advertising, marketing and promotion expense due to a smaller film slate.

For the nine months ended 30 September 2014, revenue from the film segment decreased 7.3 per cent to $3.7 billion compared to $4.0 billion in 2013. Operating cash flow increased $343 million to $634 million compared to $291 million in the first nine months of 2013.

Theme parks: For the third quarter of 2014, revenue from theme parks increased 18.7 per cent to $786 million compared to $661 million in the third quarter of 2013, reflecting higher guest attendance and per capita spending, driven by the successful opening of Orlando’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley. Third-quarter operating cash flow increased by 16.9 per cent to $402 million compared to $343 million in the same period last year, reflecting higher revenue, partially offset by an increase in operating costs to support the new attractions.

For the nine months ended 30 September 2014, revenue from theme parks increased by 13.1 per cent to $1.9 billion compared to $1.7 billion in 2013. Operating cash flow increased by 9.1 per cent to $816 million compared to $747 million in the first nine months of 2013.

NBCUniversal’s parent Comcast chairman, CEO Brian L Roberts said, “I am pleased to report strong revenue, operating cash flow and free cash flow growth for the third quarter of 2014. Cable results highlight the consistent strength of high-speed internet and business services, and video customer results were the best for a third quarter in seven years. We continue to focus on innovation and providing the best experience for our customers, and we are thrilled with the response to our superior X1 platform, which recently reached five million boxes deployed. At NBCUniversal, we had another outstanding quarter with double-digit operating cash flow growth, driven by ratings momentum at NBC Broadcast and the successful opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley in Orlando.”

Comcast’s consolidated revenue for the third quarter of 2014 increased by 4 per cent to $16.8 billion. Consolidated operating cash flow increased by 7 per cent to $5.7 billion.

The Time Warner cable and charter transaction-related costs of $77 million in the third quarter of 2014 were a similar amount to the $74 million of costs associated with the termination of a pension plan in the third quarter of 2013. Consolidated operating income increased 9.7 per cent to $3.7 billion.

For the nine months ended 30 September 2014, Comcast’s consolidated revenue increased by 6.9 per cent to $51 billion. Excluding $1.1 billion of revenue generated by the Sochi Olympics in the first quarter of 2014, consolidated revenue increased by 4.6 per cent. Consolidated operating cash flow increased by 8 per cent to $17.0 billion. Excluding $138 million of transaction-related costs in the first nine months of 2014 and pension termination costs in the third quarter of 2013, consolidated operating cash flow increased by 8.3 per cent. Consolidated operating income increased by 12.1 per cent to $11.1 billion.

Revenue for Comcast’s Cable Communications division increased by 5.2 per cent to $11 billion in the third quarter of 2014 compared to $10.5 billion in the third quarter of 2013, driven by increases of 9.6 per cent in high-speed internet and 21.0 per cent in business services. The increase in cable revenue reflects rate adjustments, customers receiving higher levels of services and customer growth.

For the nine months ended 30 September 2014, Cable revenue increased by 5.3 per cent to $32.8 billion compared to $31.2 billion in 2013.

Customer relationships increased by 82,000 to 26.9 million during the third quarter of 2014, more than three-times the customer relationship net additions in the third quarter of 2013. At the end of the third quarter, penetration of triple product customers increased to 36 per cent compared to 34 per cent in the third quarter of 2013. High-speed internet customer net additions improved over last year and were the strongest for a third quarter in five years.

Video customer net losses improved 36 per cent year-over-year and were the best result for a third quarter in seven years. Voice net additions slowed, reflecting a focus on double play during the back-to-school season, as well as X1 availability which was more focused on triple-play customers last year, making for a difficult comparison.