With reports of selling its stake in Hulu to Walt Disney, Comcast Corp. announced first-quarter financial results for NBCUniversal, showing predictable declines in overall revenues, due to comparisons with year-ago results, when NBCU aired Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl.
Total NBCU revenue sank 12.5% to $8.3 billion.
NBCU’s broadcast revenues sank nearly 30% to $2.5 billion, while NBCUs’ cable revenues were down 9% to $2.9 billion. Taking out the two special sports events, broadcast advertising revenue was up 2.6%. Leaving out the Olympics, cable advertising revenues rose 2%.
Craig Moffett, media analyst for MoffettNathanson Research, says: “Broadcast ratings continue to fall steadily for all networks, but NBC continues to outperform its peers.” He points to positive numbers from retransmission fees from pay TV providers -- up 20%.
An CNBC report says NBCU’s parent company, Comcast, is in discussions to sell its one-third stake in Hulu to Walt Disney. Currently, NBCU provides Hulu with about 17% of its overall content. Next year, NBCU is planning to launch a big, new premium video digital TV platform, deemed to be mostly ad-supported.
While not confirming any talks with Disney, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said on CNBC: “We have no new news today on it, other than it’s really valuable.”
Also during the first quarter, NBCUniversal's filmed entertainment unit -- which includes theatrical box-office revenue -- grew 7.3% to $1.8 billion. Positive results came from theatrical business of “How to Train Your Dragon” and strong home-entertainment revenue from “Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch.”
Theme parks were essentially flat at $1.3 billion.