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Cable Networks a Driver in NBCUniversal Q4 Profit


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NBCUniversal has reported higher profit in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to a healthy performance at its cable networks.

Revenue for NBCU increased 3.9 percent to $8.8 billion in Q4 2017. Adjusted EBITDA increased 6.4 percent to $1.9 billion, with increases at filmed entertainment, cable networks and theme parks, partially offset by a decline at broadcast television.

Cable networks revenue increased 7.5 percent to $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter, reflecting higher distribution, content licensing and other and advertising revenue. Distribution revenue increased 6.7 percent, due to contractual rate increases and contract renewals, partially offset by a decline in subscribers at our cable networks. Content licensing and other revenue increased 34.5 percent, due to the timing of content provided under licensing agreements. Advertising revenue increased 2.3 percent, reflecting higher rates, partially offset by audience ratings declines. Adjusted EBITDA was up 9.1 percent to $1 billion, with higher revenue being partially offset by an increase in operating costs.

In the broadcast TV segment, revenue was up 4.1 percent to $3 billion, seeing increased distribution and other and content licensing revenue, though lower advertising revenue. Distribution and other revenue increased 44.7 percent, thanks to higher retransmission consent fees. Content licensing revenue increased 19 percent, reflecting the timing of content provided under licensing agreements. Ad revenue was down 6.5 percent, due to audience ratings declines, partially offset by higher rates. Adjusted EBITDA decreased 26.3 percent to $194 million, citing increased programming and production costs, driven by increased sports costs, partially offset by higher revenue.

Filmed entertainment revenue was down 5.2 percent to $1.7 billion, and adjusted EBITDA was up by 89.7 percent to $230 million, with lower programming and production costs that were partially offset by the decline in revenue. Theme parks saw an 8.7 percent gain in revenue to $1.5 billion, while adjusted EBITDA increased 3.2 percent to $661 million.

Overall at Comcast, consolidated revenue for Q4 increased 4.2 percent to $21.9 billion. Consolidated net income attributable to Comcast increased by $12.7 billion to $15 billion. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA of $6.8 billion was on par with the prior year.

For the full-year 2017, consolidated revenue at Comcast increased 5.1 percent to $84.5 billion. Consolidated net income attributable to Comcast surged 161 percent to $22.7 billion. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA was up 6.2 percent to $28.1 billion.

Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation, said, “I am exceptionally proud of our performance this past year, and we enter 2018 with significant momentum. In 2017, we achieved strong financial and operational results while also delivering new innovations, experiences and must-see content to people around the world. At cable, our best-in-class products and continued focus on the customer experience drove healthy EBITDA growth balanced with strong customer relationship net additions.

“At NBCUniversal, our film business achieved record profitability, our theme parks delivered record attendance, and our TV business produced strong results—demonstrating the power of our sports, news and entertainment content. We are excited to have the Super Bowl on NBC, followed by the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang. The Olympics highlight our strengths and capabilities across Comcast NBCUniversal, as we combine the storytelling of NBC with Comcast technology to create a truly spectacular viewing experience.

“Overall, we feel great about our company and our positioning as we head into the year. Our confidence in the business enables us to announce, with the support of our board, a 21 percent increase in our dividend, which is our tenth consecutive annual increase. We also expect to repurchase at least $5 billion of our stock in 2018.”



About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at kbrzoznowski@worldscreen.com.

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