Comcast Reports Solid Quarter, Thanks in Part to NBCU

Deal starting to pay off for cable giant

Comcast’s investment in NBCUniversal is beginning to pay off. On Wednesday–just six months after the completion of the acquisition–the largest cable operator in the U.S. reported that quarterly broadcast television revenue for its new property was $1.7 billion, up some 19 percent over the same period last year.

Despite the fact that NBC continues to trail its competitors in the ratings, its broadcast television advertising revenue increased 6.8 percent, climbing to $1.11 billion. And the quarter saw the premiere of NBC’s biggest hit in years: reality singing competition The Voice. On a conference call with analysts, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said The Voice helped NBC “become the No. 1 network in the United States for four weeks at the end of the quarter.”

Still, Burke proceeded with some caution, telling the analysts, “We’re in fourth place at NBC. We’ve told people that it doesn’t happen in one year . . . I’m very confident we will get there, but we need to invest; and along the way, I wouldn’t expect any miracles.”

The company’s cable distribution business increased 5.6 percent in the quarter, with advertising revenue growth of some 4 percent. Comcast added 99,000 new video, Internet, and voice customers in the quarter—an increase from the 83,000 added in the second quarter of 2010.

Comcast also saw a 21 percent jump in its filmed entertainment revenue thanks to the box office successes of Bridesmaids and Fast Five, which generated $1.3 billion. Comcast also has high hopes for this summer’s Cowboys and Aliens, in which the company owns a 20 percent stake.

Overall, Comcast’s second-quarter earnings rose 16 percent, and the company boasted a total revenue of $14.3 billion. The company also had good news for its investors. Earnings per share for the quarter was $0.37—a 19 percent increase from the $0.31 reported this time last year.