NBCU Broadcast Networks Beat Cable In Q4 Ad Revenue Gains

NBCUniversal witnessed fourth-quarter mid-single-digit revenue growth for both its cable networks and broadcast businesses -- the latter due to stronger advertising sales.

Broadcast operations rose 7% to $2.5 billion, with cable networks climbing 3.4% to $2.4 billion. Media-buying executives have pointed to an improving advertising scatter market and stronger NFL advertising sales for TV networks.

Cable networks did not see the same ad gains as the broadcast business, slipping 0.3% during the period. NBCU’s cable business made up for it, with nearly a 7% hike in distribution fees.

NBCUniversal had sharply higher growth for its theme parks, particularly its new Universal Studios Japan park. Revenue was up nearly 40% to $1.0 billion overall for this business unit.



NBC’s filmed entertainment unit also had a strong fourth-quarter period due to overall better home entertainment business from “Minions” and “Jurassic World,” climbing 26% to $1.6 billion. NBC also credits from a 23% rise in content licensing revenue. Looking at just theatrical revenue, NBC was down 37.5% in revenue for the period.

Parent company Comcast Corp.’s cable operations slowed down its video customer losses -- dropping to a net 36,000 in the fourth quarter. This was against a 89,000 decline in the fourth quarter 2015. Comcast ended the year with 22.347 million video customers.

On the flip side, Internet customers almost tripled in the period, adding 1.4 million to total 23.3 million. Voice/phone customers more than doubled their gains versus a year ago at 282,000, to total 11.5 million.

Comcast local advertising revenues dropped 9% to $639 million -- largely as a result of lower political advertising. Comcast spent $1.5 billion in advertising, marketing, and promotion in the fourth quarter, up from $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter 2014.

Company-wide Comcast revenues grew 8.3% to $19.3 billion in the last three months of the year, with net income inching up 2.5% to $2.05 billion.

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