Comcast Reports Strong Q2 Earnings, NBCUniversal Bounces Back

Comcast reported strong earnings on Thursday as the conglomerate continues to recover from the coronavirus.

Comcast reported strong Q2 2021 earnings on Thursday that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, sending the conglomerate’s stock upwards.

A key component in Comcast’s positive earnings was NBCUniversal, which posted a 39 percent increase in earnings from Q2 2020. Though much of that gain is due to COVID-related revenue depressions last year, the reported gains at NBCUniversal and its corporate owner nonetheless surpassed expectations. Comcast posted revenue of $28.55 billion versus the $27.18 billion in revenue expected by Wall Street, according to Refinitiv data obtained by CNBC.

The positive financial news caused Comcast’s stock to rise around 0.22 percent at press time.

NBCUniversal’s major film releases in the quarter included “F9,” the latest film in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, as well as “The Boss Baby: Family Business.” The company’s studio revenue increased from 8.4 percent to $2.2 billion and NBCUniversal stated that the gains were primarily from higher theatrical revenue. As with the company’s overall gains, much of the increase in studio revenue can be attributed to continued recovery from the coronavirus pandemic; movie theaters across the nation began to open during Q2.

Comcast saw gains in other divisions that can be attributed to pandemic recovery. Revenue at the company’s theme parks had its first profitable quarter since Q1 2020; revenue in that division increased by $958 million. Comcast’s advertising revenue rose by 32.8 percent, driven in part by the larger number of sporting events the company has been able to broadcast in recent months.

The conglomerate stated that Peacock, the NBCUniversal streaming service that launched in summer 2020, had reached 54 million sign-ups, which is 12 million more accounts than the company reported in Q1 2021. Comcast said that 20 million of Peacock’s 54 million sign-ups were “monthly active accounts” but did not provide more specific details including breakdowns on how many Peacock accounts have signed up for the streaming service’s paid subscription tiers. Peacock is still unprofitable for Comcast; the company reported a $363 million loss on the streamer in its earnings report.

Looking ahead, NBCUniversal’s ability to draw users in to watch the Tokyo Summer Olympics will likely be a major question leading up to the company’s next earnings report. NBCUniversal has the broadcast rights to the sporting event in the United States and is streaming a variety of Olympics events on Peacock. The Olympics were supposed to be a major draw for Peacock, the launch of which was meant to coincide with the Olympics before the sporting event was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Variety reported on Tuesday that traditional TV viewing for the Olympics has declined around 36 percent from the 2016 installment in the event.

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