Comcast signs up over 10 mln Peacock users as pay-TV losses accumulate in Q2

Thursday 30 July 2020 | 13:52 CET | News

Comcast reported lower results for the second quarter, as the Covid-19 pandemic impacted its TV, films and theme parks business. The cable business in the US managed stable revenues, helped by record growth in broadband customers, while Sky lost customers, hurt by the disruption to sports schedules and store closures. 

Total revenues at Comcast fell 11.7 percent year-on-year to USD 23.7 billion, led by a 25 percent fall at NBCUniversal to USD 6.1 billion. Adjusted EBITDA dropped 9.1 percent to USD 7.9 billion, and net profit was down 4.4 percent to USD 3.0 billion. Comcast still grew free cash flow 40.5 percent to USD 6.0 billion, helped by 8 percent lower capex and delayed tax payments, and the company maintained its quarterly dividend at USD 0.23 per share. 

At the cable division, revenues were just 0.2 percent lower at USD 14.4 billion, and adjusted EBITDA increased 5.5 percent to USD 6.2 billion. Growth in broadband, wireless and the enterprise segment offset the drop in advertising and TV customers and the free services offered under the FCC's 'Keep Americans Connected' programme during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Customer growth improved to 217,000 net additions in Q2 for a total of 32.13 million cable customers at the end of June. Broadband growth jumped to 323,000 new subscribers, the best performance for a second quarter in 13 years, for a total of 29.43 million. That does not include over 600,000 bad debtors or low-income customers maintained in service through the FCC programme. 

TV subscriber losses more than double

The broadband growth was offset by the loss of another 477,000 TV subscribers, double the rate of losses in the year-earlier period, taking the base to 20.36 million subscribers. Telephony losses also more than doubled year-on-year, to 158,000, for a total of just over 11 million subscribers. Mobile growth slowed slightly to 126,000 net additions to reach a total of 2.39 million subscribers. 

The new streaming service Peacock, launched to Comcast customers in mid-April and the rest of the US in mid-July, has reached over 10 million activations to date, Comcast said. 

Sky revenues down 13%

At Sky, the company lost 214,000 subscribers in the quarter, compared to gains of 304,000 in the same period in 2019. Sky ended the quarter with 23.716 million customers, down from 24.016 million a year earlier. Comcast said it held onto 99 percent of total Sky subscribers and 95 percent of sports subscribers since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. 

The drop in customers and lower advertising and content revenues led to 15.5 percent fall in Sky's revenues to USD 4.1 billion in Q2, and adjusted EBITDA fell 2.2 percent to USD 749 million. Excluding currency effects, revenues were down 12.9 percent and EBITDA rose 0.2 percent, helped by lower production costs due to the suspension of sports events. 



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Categories: Fixed
Companies: Comcast / FCC / Sky
Countries: United Kingdom / United States
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