By Emily Bary
Shares of Comcast Corp. were heading higher in premarket trading Thursday after the media giant exceeded earnings expectations for the fourth quarter amid a surge in revenue for its NBCUniversal unit, which includes theme parks and studios.
The company generated fourth-quarter net income of $3.1 billion, or 66 cents a share, down from $3.4 billion, or 73 cents a share, in the year-prior quarter. On an adjusted basis, Comcast /zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite CMCSA +2.26% earned 77 cents a share, up from 56 cents a share a year earlier and ahead of the FactSet consensus, which called for 73 cents a share.
Comcast’s revenue increased to $30.3 billion from $27.7 billion, whereas analysts tracked by FactSet were modeling $29.6 billion.
Shares were up 1.2% in premarket trading.
The company saw cable-segment revenue of $16.4 billion, up from $15.7 billion a year earlier, as broadband and wireless revenues ticked higher while advertising and video revenues declined. Analysts had been expecting $16.3 billion in cable revenue.
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Comcast’s total customer relationships in the cable business rose by 169,000, while total broadband customer net additions stood at 212,000. Comcast noted in its release that the broadband business enjoyed its highest level of customer retention on record relative to other fourth quarters.
NBCUniversal revenue surged to $9.3 billion from $7.4 billion and easily topped the FactSet consensus, which was for $8.8 billion.
Within NBCUniversal, Comcast’s studio revenue was up 36% driven by higher theatrical, content-licensing, and home-entertainment revenue. Revenue from theme parks nearly tripled to $1.9 billion.
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Comcast’s Sky revenue dipped to $5.1 billion from $5.2 billion, as the pay-TV unit saw lower content revenue and direct-to-consumer revenue. The company pointed to changes in its sports-licensing agreements in Italy and Germany.
Shares of Comcast have lost 7.6% over the past three months as the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.38% has declined 4.9%.