Comcast beats quarterly revenue estimates fueled by broadband demand

The Comcast NBC logo is shown on a building in Los Angeles, California

By Eva Mathews and Helen Coster

(Reuters) – Comcast Corp on Thursday reported quarterly revenue ahead of Wall Street estimates, buoyed by steady demand for its internet and wireless services due to remote work despite pandemic-related weakness in its theme park and film businesses.

Revenue for the first-quarter rose 2.2% from a year earlier to $27.21 billion, beating analysts’ estimates of $26.70 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The media company gained 461,000 broadband customers in the quarter, topping analysts’ average estimate of 396,000 net additions, according to research firm FactSet. It lost 491,000 video customers in the quarter, more than the 418,000 Wall Street expected, according to FactSet.

Comcast is experiencing an uptick in movie theater and theme park ticket sales as those venues reopen at a limited capacity. The company has also benefited from remote work and e-learning, which have driven demand for broadband and streaming video services.

Comcast said it had 42 million sign-ups to its Peacock streaming service, which launched in July, up from 33 million last quarter. Peacock competes against streaming giants Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co’s Disney+, among other services.

The company’s NBCUniversal segment, which includes NBC Entertainment and Universal Pictures, reported revenue of $7.02 billion, down about 9% from a year earlier, owing to pandemic-related delays in production and theatrical releases of big-budget films.

Media revenue rose 3.2%, buoyed by higher affiliate fees and strength in the company’s news business even as ad sales fell during the quarter.

Theme parks revenue fell 33.1% to $619 million.

(This story corrects reported period to first quarter from fourth in paragraph two)

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru and Helen Coster in New York; Editing by Richard Pullin)