Shares of Comcast (CMCSA) are up almost 11% year to date. And even without the Olympics, Comcast is a winner.
Two weeks ago, Comcast reported third-quarter fiscal 2016 results of 92 cents per share, one cent better than the consensus estimate. Revenue rose 14.2% to $21.32 billion, vs. the $21.15 billion consensus. The results include $1.6 billion in revenue from the Rio Olympics. Excluding the Olympics, revenue grew 5.5%. Operating income increased 11% to $4.4 billion.
Cable communication revenue increased 6.9% to $12.6 billion, driven by the increase in high-speed internet video and business service revenue. The company ended the quarter with 28.3 million subscribers.
Broadcast television revenue increased 56.6% to $3.1 billion, driven by a 92.5% increase in advertising for the Olympics. Filmed entertainment fell 7.9% to $1.8 billion due to the acquisition of DreamWorks. Theme park revenue jumped 16.2% to $1.4 billion due to the successful opening of "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attraction.
Even without the one-time boost from the Olympics, Comcast continues to produce outstanding results. Video saw its best third quarter in 10 years, and internet broadband results were the best in seven years.
NBC won all 17 nights of prime-time television during the Olympics. In the 18 to 49 demographic, NBC prime time ratings more than quadrupled the other broadcast ratings combined. Over 100 million Americans watched the Olympics online. Because of the election, MSNBC ratings are up 95%.
Well over 40% of cable subscribers are using the X1 platform from Xfinity. With X1, consumers can view internet content, watch live television, download apps like Hulu and YouTube, record four shows at once, and watch on-demand movies. The company also announced it would roll out gigabit Ethernet service in early 2017 to customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington state. The company is aggressively deploying its DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which uses existing cable infrastructure to deliver these super fast speeds to customers.
Without the Olympics and the election to drive revenue, analysts are forecasting revenue growth of nearly 5%, and 7% earnings growth. Comcast grew revenue by 9.6% in fiscal 2015 and by an estimated 7.4% in 2016.
With a giant $10 billion share buyback plan in place, the consensus is looking for 2016 earnings of $3.50 per share and $3.77 next year.
Jim Cramer, manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, added to the portfolio's position in Comcast last week. Cramer and Research Director Jack Mohr wrote to subscribers on Friday that "we believe Comcast's value proposition for consumers as well as investors has never been more evident." They have a $70 price target on the stock.
Typically, media companies trade between 7 and 9 times EV/EBITDA, so assuming a 2017 EBITDA of $28 billion and an enterprise value of $230 billion, the stock is trading around 8 times EV/EBITDA. Historically, Comcast trades at a premium to the group, which is usually something over 9 times. On that basis, it's easy to see Comcast shares reaching the mid-$80s per share over the next year. Stay tuned.