Most media companies faced difficult comps during an odd-numbered year on loss of political income alone, but the odd-year challenge is magnified at Comcast and its NBCUniversal division: It’s also dealing with the loss of income from the 2012 Summer Olympics.
As such, the company loaded its Q3 financial results report with caveats.
For example, overall revenue was down 2.4% to $16.151B. But if you take out the Olympics and other items, it was up 5.2%.
Operating cash flow was $5.33B, up 6.4%; taking out the Olympics and pension related costs, it would have been up 10.5%.
Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Corporation, said, “Our businesses generated strong revenue and cash flow growth and record free cash flow for the third quarter. Cable’s results highlight the underlying strength of our residential and business services. We are driving innovation, expanding our service offerings, and bringing new and rich content to more platforms than ever before. NBCUniversal delivered solid performance in every one of its segments, with healthy growth in revenue and double-digit cash flow growth, adjusting for the results of the Olympics last year. Comcast NBCUniversal has real momentum and many opportunities ahead.”
Marci Ryvicker of Wells Fargo noted that the results were mixed versus expectations – her company was predictin higher revenue of $16.4B, but lower OCF of $5.2B.
Cable advertising was down more than 10%, but the division picked up gains in the internet and phone service categories.
Results at NBCU, minus Olympic cash, were expected but gruesome. Lack of an event comparable to the Olympics left a $1.2B hole. As a result, television income was down 41.1% to $1.644B, and OCF was down 61.1% to $34M.