NBCU beat expectations for Comcast


ComcastNBCUniversal (NBCU) posted double-digit gains in revenues and operating cash flow (OCF) in Q1, beating Wall Street expectations and helping parent Comcast post double-digit gains as well. The much larger cable MSO business posted smaller gains for the quarter.

“We are off to a great start in 2012, with strong revenue and cash flow growth and record quarterly free cash flow. Cable’s results show real momentum in High-Speed Internet and Business Services, and continuing improvements in Video results and Voice services. As we continue to drive innovation and bring the XFINITY brand to life, we’re delivering more and better products and transforming the customer experience,” said CEO Brian Roberts.

For the entire company, revenues rose 22.7% to $14.88 billion. OCF rose 15.3% to $4.69 billion and free cash flow (FCF) gained 36.8% to $3.04 billion. Pro forma for the acquisitions of NBCU and the remainder of Universal Orlando during 2011, revenues were up 9.6% and OCF 9.6%.

“We are also pleased with the performance of NBCUniversal, which posted strong revenue growth, led by the Super Bowl and successful film releases, along with reliable growth in our Theme Parks and Cable Networks, and steady progress in Broadcast.NBCUniversal and Cable Communicationsare also working well together to launch new programs and offer innovative products. We are looking forward to events like the Olympics that will bring together all of our company’s unique abilities to deliver compelling stories and new digital experiences across every screen, in and out of the home,” said Roberts.

NBCU revenues were up 18% to $5.47 billion and OCF gained 34.3% to $813 million. Here’s the Comcast commentary on the Cable Networks and Broadcast TV operations:

Cable Networks

“For the first quarter of 2012, revenue from the Cable Networks segment increased 5.8% to$2.1 billioncompared to$2.0 billionin the first quarter of 2011, primarily driven by a 5.9% increase in advertising revenue, a 3.8% increase in distribution revenue and a 20.5% increase in other revenue. Operating cash flow decreased 1.4% to$805 millioncompared to$817 millionin the first quarter of 2011, reflecting higher programming and production costs, primarily due to a shift in the number ofNBAgames to the first quarter of 2012.”

Broadcast Television

“For the first quarter of 2012, revenue from the Broadcast Television segment increased 36.9% to$1.9 billioncompared to$1.4 billionin the first quarter of 2011 and included$259 millionof revenue generated by the Super Bowl. Excluding the impact of the Super Bowl in the first quarter of 2012, revenue increased 17.7%, reflecting higher primetime ratings and higher revenue from a content licensing agreement. In the first quarter of 2012, the Broadcast Television segment generated an operating cash flow loss of$10 millioncompared to operating cash flow of$20 millionin the first quarter of 2011, reflecting higher programming and marketing costs to support the mid-season primetime schedule.”