In the first quarter, Comcast showed strong broadband growth as its media and theme park businesses were hit by stay-at-home orders. The company added 371,000 net customer relationships, which includes the following:
- 477,000 net high-speed Internet customer additions across residential and business.
- A loss of 388,000 residential video customers.
- 216,000 net wireless lines.
Overall, Comcast reported first quarter earnings of $2.1 billion, or 46 cents a share, on revenue of $26.6 billion, down almost 1% from a year ago. Adjusted earnings were 71 cents a share, 3 cents ahead of Wall Street estimates.
Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, said:
COVID-19 has created a tremendous amount of uncertainty and financial strain for people and businesses around the globe. Every company is different and fewer immune to this dynamic. Comcast is no exception. We have businesses like broadband, which had the best first quarter net add in 12 years and continued its sales momentum in April. And then we have businesses like theme parks as well as television and film production, which will be under substantial duress because we must shelter employees.
Comcast also outlined that the second quarter will be rocky. The company said:
Our Cable Communications results, while strong in the first quarter 2020, will be negatively affected in the second quarter by the significant deterioration in domestic economic conditions in recent weeks and by the costs associated with our support of customer connectivity as the population increasingly works and learns remotely from home. NBCUniversal and Sky results also will be negatively impacted to a greater extent in the second quarter 2020. As a result, we expect the impacts of COVID-19 to increase in significance in the second quarter 2020 and to have a material adverse impact on our consolidated results of operations over the near-to-medium term.
Key items in the quarter include:
- Comcast moved more than 95% of its US call center employees to remote work;
- Comcast’s cable network has seen a 33% increase in upstream traffic since March 1.
- NBCUniversal revenue was down 7% in the first quarter and adjusted EBITDA fell 25.3%. Filmed entertainment and theme park revenue fell 22.5% and 31.9%, respectively.