Comcast ( CMCSA Quick Quote CMCSA - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings of 71 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.9% but decreasing 6.6% year over year. Consolidated revenues slid 0.9% year over year to $26.61 billion and also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $26.84 billion. Cable Communication Revenue Details Revenues climbed 4.5% from the year-ago quarter to $14.92 billion. Total Customer Relationships increased 371K to 31.9 million. High-speed Internet revenues grew 9.3% year over year to $5 billion, primarily driven by increased residential high-speed Internet customers and rate adjustments. Total high-speed Internet customer net additions were 477K.
Business Services revenues were up 8% to $2.04 billion, driven by customer base expansion and higher average rates.
Wireless revenues jumped 52.1% to $343 million, supported by an increase in the number of customer lines. Comcast added 216K wireless lines in the reported quarter. Advertising revenues inched up 0.3% to $557 million, primarily on solid political advertising revenues, offset by lower advertiser spending due to COVID-19. Excluding political revenues, advertising revenues declined 4.6%. Voice revenues were $899 million, down 9.2% year over year due to a declining number of residential voice customers. Video revenues slipped 0.1% to $5.63 billion, reflecting a decline in the residential video customer count. Total video customer net losses were 409K while total voice customer net losses were 89K. Other revenues increased 7% from the year-ago quarter to $443 million owing to higher security and automation services revenues as well as from licensing Comcast’s X1 and technology platforms. NBCUniversal Revenues Decrease/Weaken Y/Y Revenues declined 7% year over year to $7.73 billion. Cable Networks’ revenues dipped 0.3% from the year-ago quarter to $2.89 billion, primarily due to lower advertising revenues (down 2.2%) and distribution revenues (down 1.5%). The year-over-year fall in advertising revenues reflects audience rating declines and reduced advertiser spending due to postponement of sports events in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Content licensing & other revenues increased 13% year over year. Broadcast Television revenues improved 8.8% from the year-ago quarter to $2.68 billion, courtesy of higher content licensing revenues (up 31.3%) and distribution & other revenues (up 6.9%). Advertising revenues were flat on a year-over-year basis. Filmed Entertainment revenues decreased 22.5% from the year-ago quarter to $1.56 billion. Theatrical revenues fell 28.8% from the year-ago quarter. Content licensing revenues dropped 15.4% on a year-over-year basis. Theme Parks revenues were $869 million, down 31.9% year over year, primarily due to the closures of Universal Studios Japan in late February and Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood in mid-March as a result of COVID-19. Sky Revenue Details Sky’s pro-forma revenues deteriorated 5.8% year over year to $4.52 billion. At constant currency (cc), revenues softened 3.7%. Direct-to-consumer revenues were down 4% (down 1.9% at cc) from the year-ago quarter to $3.68 billion. This decline primarily reflected a decrease in average revenue per customer relationship due to the impact of COVID-19, which resulted in lower sports subscription revenues. Content revenues fell 12.3% (down 10.5% at cc) to $325 million. This downside reflects the deferral of wholesale revenues from sports programming due to suspension of sports events following the COVID-19 outbreak. Advertising revenues deteriorated 13.5% (down 11.6% at cc) from the year-ago quarter to $513 million, primarily due to overall market weakness, which worsened due to COVID-19 as well as the impact of a change in legislation related to gambling advertisements in the U.K. and Italy. Pro-forma Total Customer Relationships decreased 65K to 23.9 million in the reported quarter. Operating Details Consolidated programming & production costs slipped 3.1% from the year-ago quarter to $8.30 billion. As a percentage of revenues, programming & production costs shrank 70 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis to 31.2%. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA fell 4.9% from the year-ago quarter to $8.13 billion. Segment-wise, Cable Communications’ adjusted EBITDA rose 6.1% from the year-ago quarter to $6.08 billion. Cable Communications operating expenses inched up 3.4% year over year on higher non-programming costs, technical and product support expenses and other expenses including a spike in administrative expenses. Cable Communications results include a loss of $59 million from the wireless business compared with a loss of $103 million in the year-ago quarter. NBCUniversal’s adjusted EBITDA decreased 25.3% from the year-ago quarter to $1.75 billion, reflecting a decline in Cable Networks (down 1.2%), Filmed Entertainment (down 70.9%) and Theme Parks (down 84.7%)-adjusted EBITDA. Broadcast Television-adjusted EBITDA increased 29.6% year over year. Sky’s adjusted EBITDA declined 16.9% year over year (down 15.3% at cc) to $551 million. Notably, Sky’s operating costs and expenses fell 4.1% (down 1.9% at cc) to $3.97 billion. Consolidated operating income declined 6.4% year over year to $4.85 billion. Moreover, operating margin contracted 110 bps from the year-ago quarter to 18.2%. Cash Flow & Liquidity As of Mar 31, 2020, cash and cash equivalents were $8.52 billion, up from $5.50 billion as of Dec 31, 2019. Moreover, as of Mar 31, 2020, consolidated total debt was $103.58 billion, up from $102.22 billion as of Dec 31, 2019. In first-quarter 2020, Comcast generated cash from operations of $5.82 billion, down 19.5% year over year. Capital expenditures were down 10.1% to $1.9 billion. NBCUniversal’s capital expenditures decreased 6.9% to $1.3 billion. Sky reported capital expenditures of $197 million, down 24.1%. Moreover, Cable Communications’ capital expenditures decreased 6.9% to $1.3 billion. Free cash flow was $3.33 billion in the reported quarter, down 27.6% year over year. Dividends paid out in the first quarter were worth $977 million. Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider Currently, Comcast carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Activision Blizzard ( ATVI Quick Quote ATVI - Free Report) , Electronic Arts Inc. ( EA Quick Quote EA - Free Report) and Adtalem Global Education Inc. ( ATGE Quick Quote ATGE - Free Report) are some better-ranked stocks in the broader Consumer & Discretionary sector, all three carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Activision, Electronic Arts and Adtalem Global are all scheduled to report quarterly results on May 5. Today's Best Stocks from Zacks Would you like to see the updated picks from our best market-beating strategies? From 2017 through 2019, while the S&P 500 gained and impressive +53.6%, five of our strategies returned +65.8%, +97.1%, +118.0%, +175.7% and even +186.7%. This outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. From 2000 – 2019, while the S&P averaged +6.0% per year, our top strategies averaged up to +54.7% per year. See their latest picks free >>