Television

FY-2015: Comcast Cable's Q4-2015 video subscriber additions retard video subscriber decline

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BENGALURU: Comcast Corporation's (Comcast) cable communications segment reported its best ever video results in terms of subscriber decline over nine years for the year ended 31 December, 2015 (FY-2015, current year). Video subscriber increase or retard, at least for the current quarter, seems to be a trend in the US, if one were to go by the results declared by a couple of other television signal carriers.

Note: 100,00,000 = 100 lakh = 10 million =1 crore

Comcast Cable numbers

Comcast Cable reported net additions of 89,000 in the quarter ended 31 December, 2015 (Q4-2015, current quarter) as compared to net additions of 6,000 during the corresponding prior year quarter. In the previous quarter (Q3-2015), Comcast Cable had reported a decline of 48,000 video subscribers. For FY-2015, the segment reported 223.47 lakh video subscribers as compared to 223.83 lakh in FY-2014, a decline of just 36,000 as compared to the 196,000 subscribers that Comcast Cable had lost in FY-2014 vis-?-vis FY-2013.

Customer relationships increased by 281,000 to 270.35 lakh during Q4-2015, a 57.6 per cent improvement compared to an increase of 178,000 in the fourth quarter of 2014, driven by increases in double product and triple product relationships. Video customer net additions of 89,000 were the best result for a quarter in eight years, high-speed Internet customer net additions of 460,000 were the best result for a fourth quarter in nine years, and Voice customer net additions improved to 139,000.

For FY-2015, customer relationships increased by 666,000, an 85.9 per cent improvement compared to net additions of 358,000 in FY-2014. Video customer net losses of 36,000 improved by 81.7 per cent year-over-year and were the best result in nine years. High-speed Internet customer net additions of 1.4 million marked the tenth consecutive year of more than one million net additions, and were the best result in eight years. Voice customer net additions slowed to 282,000.

Revenue for Cable Communications increased 5.9 per cent to $11,980 million in Q4-2015 compared to $11,313 million Q4-2014, driven by increases of 9.8 per cent in high-speed Internet, 4.4 per cent in video and 18.9 per cent in business services, partially offset by a 9.3 per cent decline in advertising due to lower political advertising revenue. Comcast says that the increase in Cable revenue reflects increased customer relationships (see below), customers receiving higher levels of service, customers taking additional services, as well as rate adjustments.

For FY-2015, Cable revenue increased 6.2 per cent to $46,879 million compared to $44,140 million in FY-2014, driven by growth in high-speed Internet, business services and video.

Company speak

Comcast chairman and chief executive officer Brian L. Roberts said, “I am exceptionally proud of our results this year, which were driven by strong performances in each of our core businesses. At Comcast Cable, our focus on delivering the most innovative products and improving the customer experience led to fantastic operating metrics, including our best video customer results in nine years, and our best high-speed Internet customer results in eight years. NBCUniversal had a remarkable year, with record-breaking results at both Theme Parks and Film, and continued success at NBC, which was number one in primetime for the second consecutive season. As we enter 2016, the momentum we see across our portfolio is truly exciting. We are executing at the highest level, investing prudently, and energized and focused on driving growth and shareholder value. Underscoring our confidence in our company, we are increasing our dividend by 10 per cent to $1.10 per share and we also plan to repurchase $5.0 billion of our stock this year.”

Overall numbers

Consolidated Revenue for Q4-2015 increased 8.5 per cent to $19,245 million as compared to $17,732 million in Q4-2014. Consolidated Operating Cash Flow increased 6.7 per cent to $6,272 million from $5,877 million in Q4-2014. Consolidated Operating Income increased 5.7 per cent to $4,002 million as compared to $3,787 million in the previous year. On 13 November, 2015, Comcast acquired a 51 per cent interest in the Universal Studios theme park located in Osaka, Japan (Universal Studios Japan). Q4-2015 and FY-2015 results include $169 million of revenue and $80 million of operating cash flow attributable to Universal Studios Japan from its acquisition date.

Consolidated revenue for Q4-2015 excluding Universal Studios Japan increased 7.6 per cent. Consolidated operating cash flow excluding Universal Studios Japan, as well as $22 million of costs associated with a change in the presentation of amounts payable for a contractual obligation in Q4-2015 and $99 million of Time Warner Cable and Charter transaction-related costs in Q4-2014, increased four per cent.

For FY-2015, consolidated revenue increased 8.3 per cent to $74,510 million as compared to $68,775 million in FY-2014. Consolidated operating cash flow increased 7.7 per cent to $24,678 million as compared to $22,923 million in FY-2014. Consolidated operating income increased 7.3 per cent to $15,998 million as compared to $14,904 million in the prior year. Consolidated revenue for FY-2015 excluding Universal Studios Japan, as well as $376 million of revenue generated by the broadcast of the NFL’s Super Bowl in the first quarter of 2015 and $1.1 billion of revenue generated by the Sochi Olympics in the first quarter of 2014, increased 9.3 per cent. Consolidated operating cash flow excluding Universal Studios Japan, as well as $178 million of transaction-related costs in 2015 and $237 million in 2014, and $22 million of costs associated with a change in the presentation of amounts payable for a contractual obligation4 in the fourth quarter of 2015, increased 7.1 per cent.

Other segments

NBCUniversal

Revenue for NBCUniversal increased 13.0 per cent to $7,477 million in Q4-2015 compared to $6,615 million in Q4-2014. For FY-2015, NBCUniversal revenue increased 11.9 per cent to $28.5 billion compared to $25.4 billion in FY-2014.

Cable Networks

For Q4-2015, Cable Networks segment revenue increased 3.4 per cent to $2,407 million as compared to $2,327 million in Q4-2014. These results reflect a 6.8 per cent increase in distribution revenue, partially reflecting NASCAR Comcast’s sports network, NBCSN, which was more than offset by a modest 0.3 per cent decline in advertising revenue and an increase in sports programming costs, reflecting the impact of NASCAR and higher programming costs for the English Premier League.

For FY-2015, revenue from the Cable Networks segment increased 0.7 per cent to $9,628 million from $9,563 million in FY-2014.

Broadcast Television

For Q4-2015, revenue from the Broadcast Television segment increased seven per cent to $2,498 million compared to $2,335 million in Q4-2014, reflecting a seven per cent increase in advertising revenue, primarily driven by higher rates, a 34.9 per cent increase in content licensing revenue, and higher retransmission consent fees.

For FY-2015, revenue from the Broadcast Television segment was stable at $8,530 million as compared to $8,542 million in FY-2014. Excluding $376 million of revenue generated by the NFL’s Super Bowl in the first quarter of 2015, as well as $846 million of revenue generated by the 2014 Sochi Olympics, revenue increased six per cent, reflecting a 13.7 per cent increase in content licensing revenue, a 4.1 per cent increase in advertising revenue, and higher retransmission consent fees.

Filmed Entertainment

For Q4-2015, revenue from the Filmed Entertainment segment increased 25.8 per cent to $1,6 29billion compared to $1,295 million in Q4-2014, reflecting a 74.9 per cent increase in home entertainment revenue driven by the strong performances of Minions and Jurassic World, as well as a 22.7 per cent increase in content licensing revenue, partially offset by a 37.5 per cent decline in theatrical revenue.

For FY-2015, revenue from the Filmed Entertainment segment increased 45.5 per cent to $7,287 million compared to $5,008 million in FY-2014, driven by higher theatrical revenue from the record performances of Minions, Jurassic World, and Furious 7. Operating cash flow increased 73.5 per cent to $1.2 billion compared to $711 million in 2014, reflecting higher revenue, partially offset by a 40.9 per cent increase in operating expenses, primarily driven by an increase in the amortisation of film costs and higher advertising, marketing and promotion expense due to a larger film slate.

Theme Parks

For Q4-2015, revenue from the Theme Parks segment increased 38.6 per cent to $1,019 million compared to $735 million in Q4-2014. These results reflect higher guest attendance and per capita spending, driven by the continued success of Orlando’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Hollywood’s Fast and Furious: Supercharged, as well as Halloween Horror Nights at the Orlando and Hollywood parks, partially offset by an increase in operating costs to support new attractions.

For FY-2015, revenue from the Theme Parks segment increased 27.3 per cent to $3,339 million compared to $2,623 million in FY-2014.

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