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Peacock reaches 22M subscribers; Comcast revenue falls in Q3

Comcast Corp. reported more than 22 million domestic signups for Peacock, the NBCUniversal streaming service launched in July, in its third quarter results published today (Oct. 29). Brian L. Roberts (pictured), ...
October 29, 2020

Comcast Corp. reported more than 22 million domestic signups for Peacock, the NBCUniversal streaming service launched in July, in its third quarter results published today (Oct. 29).

Brian L. Roberts (pictured), chairman and CEO of Comcast, said the service is “exceeding our expectations on all engagement metrics in only a few months.”

Still, Comcast’s earnings for the third quarter prove that like other mediacos, the company hasn’t been immune to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The telcom giant’s revenue slid 4.8% in the third quarter to US$25.5 billion. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, revenue decreased 5.8% to $75.9 billion compared to 2019.

Earnings per Share (EPS) for Q3 came in at $0.44, a decrease of 37.1% compared to the third quarter of 2019. Adjusted EPS decreased 17.7% to $0.65.

Revenue for NBCUniversal, meanwhile, was battered by weak results for theme parks and movie studio sales and decreased 18.9% to $6.7 billion in the third quarter of 2020. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, NBCUniversal revenue decreased 17.1% to $20.6 billion compared to last year’s results.

Cable Networks revenue decreased 1.3% to $2.7 billion in the third quarter of 2020, which Comcast attributed to lower distribution and advertising revenues. Distribution revenue fell 3.8%.

Advertising revenue dipped 2.1% for the segment, while content licensing and other revenue increased 16.6%.

Broadcast television revenue climbed 8.3% to $2.4 billion in Q3 due to higher content licensing revenue (up 65.6%) and distribution (up 4.9%) and other revenue.

Those gains were offset by lower ad revenues, which fell 11.5% in the quarter.

Revenue for Comcast’s UK broadcaster Sky increased 5.2% to $4.8 billion in Q3, driven by higher content revenue.

Direct-to-consumer revenue, however, decreased 1.0% to $3.9 billion, and advertising revenue dropped 1.2% to $462 million, reflecting “overall market weakness,” Comcast stated in its fiscal update.

In an August interview with Realscreen, NBCUniversal Entertainment Networks’ president of original programming Bill McGoldrick said the streamer is “just getting started in unscripted.” It recently premiered Freedia Got A Gun from RuPaul’s Drag Race producer World of Wonder in October as part of its originals slate.

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