Comcast released the earnings results from its most recently completed quarter before opening bell this morning, posting adjusted earnings of 79 cents per share on $17.9 billion, a 2.6% year over year increase. Analysts had been expecting Comcast to report earnings of 74 cents per share on $17.36 billion in revenue In the same quarter a year ago, Comcast reported earnings of 68 cents per share on revenue of $17.4 billion.
Key metrics from Comcast’s earnings report
Reported earnings per share were 81 cents, compared to 71 cents in last year’s first quarter. Included in the reported earnings numbers were gains from the sale of one of Comcast’s business and costs related to that transaction. In the first quarter of last year, Comcast included gains from the sale of one of its investments and a positive resolution from a previous contingency related to an acquisition.
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Comcast’s results were boosted by Super Bowl XLIX, which management said was the most-watched TV program ever. The company also saw tremendous success from Fifty Shades of Grey and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Dragon Alley theme park in Orlando.
The cable TV provider increased its quarterly share buybacks and dividends 104.4% to 42.6 billion in the quarter. This year Comcast expects to increase its share buybacks $2.5 billion, bringing them up to $6.76 billion for the full year.
Comcast’s earnings results by segment
Comcast’s Cable Communications segment aw revenue rise 6.3%. The business recorded a 61% or 199,000 increase in customer relationships and increased the total revenue per customer relationship by 4.7%. The company added 407,000 high speed internet customers and posted a 10.7% growth rate for the segment, which is the strongest growth rate in more than four years. Business services revenue increased by 21.4% and is now closing in on $4.5 billion in annualized revenue.
NBC Universal revenue rose 7.9% year over year, excluding the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the 2015 Super Bowl. Including those two events, revenue declined 4%. Comcast reported that NBC is still the top TV network among adults ages 18 to 49. This year’s Super Bowl generated $376 million in revenue.
Comcast reported a 33.7% increase in theme parks revenue.