Thursday 29 April 2021 5:35 pm

Sky owner Comcast beats forecasts on pandemic broadband boost

Comcast today posted better-than-expected revenue for the first quarter after cashing in on higher demand for its broadband services during the pandemic.

The US media giant booked a two per cent rise in revenue to $27.2bn (£19.5bn) in the first three months of the year, ahead of analyst forecasts of $26.7bn.

Read more: Sky owner Comcast beats revenue forecasts on broadband and streaming boost

The upbeat figures came as home working and streaming demand fuelled Comcast’s internet business, offsetting hits to its theme park and film divisions.

Comcast added 461,000 broadband customers over the quarter, topping expectations. However, it booked a larger than forecast decline in video customers.

The group’s NBC Universal division, which includes its film, TV and theme park assets, posted a nine per cent decline in revenue to $7bn as pandemic-induced production delays and closures continued to take their toll.

But the company is beginning to enjoy an increase in cinema and theme park ticket sales as lockdown restrictions gradually ease in the US.

The group’s Peacock streaming service, which launched in July, recorded 42m subscriptions, up from 33m in the previous quarter.

Revenue at Sky, which Comcast bought for $39bn in 2018, increased more than 10 per cent to $5bn, though profits dropped by a third due to higher sports programming costs.

Read more: Comcast profit drops as Covid-19 shutdown offsets broadband boost

Chairman and chief executive Brian L Roberts said Comcast was “off to a great start in 2021”.

“Our entire company performed well across the board, highlighted by another strong performance from cable, which posted its third consecutive quarter of double-digit adjusted EBITDA growth, while adding the most quarterly customer relationships in our company’s history.”