Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Thursday as solid high-speed internet additions ahead of the launch of its online streaming business boosted its bottom line.
Comcast said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in September came in at 79 cents per share, up 16.2% from the same period last year thanks in part to the media group's addition of U.K. broadcaster Sky plc and 5 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Comcast said, rose 21.2% to $26.83 billion, just ahead of analysts' estimates of a $26.77 billion tally.
"We delivered excellent results in the third quarter, surpassing 55 million customer relationships and generating strong pro forma growth in adjusted EBITDA and double-digit growth in adjusted EPS." said CEO Brian Roberts. "These and our many other accomplishments during the quarter underscore our strategic focus on innovation and providing our customers with superior products, services and experiences."
"Together, with our leading scale in high-value customer relationships and premium content, we are strategically positioned to thrive in our evolving global industry," he added.
Comcast shares were marked 1% higher at the start of trading Thursday following the earnings release to change hands at $46.20 each, pegging its year-to-date gain at around 35.7%.
Comcast added 379,000 customers to its high-speed internet business, topping FactSet's estimate of 344,000 as it prepares to take on rivals Walt Disney Co. DIS and Netflix NFLX in the accelerate battle for online streaming viewers with its 'Peacock' offering.
Peacock, named after its parent company's logo, will stream "reboots" of "Punky Brewster" and "Saved by the Bell;" reruns including "The Office," which cost NBC $100 million per year for a five-year exclusive agreement; and originals including "Brave New World," featuring Demi Moore.
Peacock's lineup also includes new talk shows from Jada Pinkett Smith, Jimmy Fallon, and several others.
NBCUniversal revenues slipped 3.5% to $8.3 billion, Comcast, said, while revenues from its Sky division, the U.K. broadcaster it purchased for $39 billion last year, fell 4.2% to $4.554 billion.