On Thursday Comcast reported its second-quarter earnings before the bell, beating analyst estimates on the top and bottom lines. This is the first earnings report since Comcast’s NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC, has launched its new ad-supported streaming service, Peacock, and the first to reflect the full extent of the pandemic on Comcast’s business. Comcast share were up about 1% in premarket trading following the report.
Despite the pandemic lockdowns that persisted through much of the second quarter in many parts of the world, Comcast reported some positive signs. In addition to growing high-speed internet customers at a faster rate than expected and reaching a second quarter record in cable with more than 217,000 net customer relationship adds, Comcast said it’s retained 95% of Sky sports customers since the beginning of the pandemic despite the postponement of major live sports events.
Comcast has extended promotions it’s offered customers to help get through the new conditions set by the crisis, including making its Internet Essentials free through year-end and keeping its out of home Xfinity WiFi hotspots free through the end of the year. The company said Peacock has already seen 10 million sign-ups to date since launching in April for Comcast subscribers and more broadly this month.
But Comcast’s NBCUniversal division took some hits in the second quarter as advertisers pulled back spend and theme parks had to shut down entirely. NBCUniversal revenue declined 25.4% year over year to $6.1 billion. Theme parks had the steepest drop in revenue in the quarter, declining 94.1% to $87 million. Universal’s parks in Orlando, Florida and Japan were able to reopen with limited capacity in June but rising case counts in Florida could jeopardize any progress already made.