Higher retrans fees help drive revenue to $3 billion despite lower ad revenue and audience declines.
Comcast Corp. today reported fourth quarter revenue from its Broadcast Television Segment increased 4.1% to $3 billion, reflecting, it said, higher distribution and other and content licensing revenue, partially offset by a decline in advertising revenue.
Distribution and other Broadcast Television Segment revenue increased 44.7%, due to higher retransmission consent fees.
Broadcast Television Segment content licensing revenue increased 19%, reflecting the timing of content provided under licensing agreements.
Broadcast Television Segment advertising revenue decreased 6.5%, due to audience ratings declines, partially offset by higher rates.
Adjusted Broadcast Television Segment EBITDA decreased 26.3% to $194 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, reflecting increased programming and production costs, driven by increased sports costs, partially offset by higher revenue..
Revenue for the Cable Communications Segment increased 7.5% to $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter, reflecting higher distribution and content licensing and other revenue. Distribution revenue increased 6.7%, driven by contractual rate increases and contract renewals, partially offset by a decline in subscribers at its cable networks.
Content licensing and other revenue in the Cable Communications Segment increased 34.5%, reflecting the timing of content provided under licensing agreements. Advertising revenue increased 2.3%, reflecting higher rates, partially offset by audience ratings declines.. Adjusted EBITDA increased 9.1% to $1 billion in the fourth quarter, reflecting higher revenue, partially offset by an increase in operating expenses.
Cable Communications Segment adjusted EBITDA increased 4.2% to $5.4 billion in the quarter, reflecting higher revenue, partially offset by a 2.9% increase in operating expenses.
Revenue for NBCUniversal increased 3.9% to $8.8 billion and adjusted EBITDA increased 6.4% to $1.9 billion.
Overall Comcast revenue increased 4.2% to $21 billion; net income attributable to Comcast increased 552% to $2.3 billion; adjusted EBITDA (formerly operating cash flow) was flat at $6.8 billion.
Brian L. Roberts, Comcast chairman-CEO, said: “I am exceptionally proud of our performance this past year, and we enter 2018 with significant momentum. In 2017, we achieved strong financial and operational results while also delivering new innovations, experiences and must-see content to people around the world.
“At Cable, our best-in-class products and continued focus on the customer experience drove healthy EBITDA growth balanced with strong customer relationship net additions.
“At NBCUniversal, our Film business achieved record profitability, our Theme Parks delivered record attendance, and our TV business produced strong results — demonstrating the power of our sports, news and entertainment content. We are excited to have the Super Bowl on NBC, followed by the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang. The Olympics highlight our strengths and capabilities across Comcast NBCUniversal, as we combine the storytelling of NBC with Comcast technology to create a truly spectacular viewing experience.
“Overall, we feel great about our company and our positioning as we head into the year. Our confidence in the business enables us to announce, with the support of our board, a 21% increase in our dividend, which is our 10th consecutive annual increase. We also expect to repurchase at least $5 billion of our stock in 2018.”
Read the company’s report here.