Comcast Corp.’s profits jumped 25% in the second quarter as more customers returned to theme parks and theaters that were closed during the worst days of the pandemic.
The Philadelphia media giant’s theme parks were profitable for the first time since the pandemic began, with revenue improving eightfold to $1.1 billion. Its film Fast 9 had the best opening weekend at the U.S. box office since late 2019. And NBC advertising revenue increased 32.8%, thanks in part to more live sports. MLB, NBA, and NHL seasons were cut short in 2020.
Altogether, NBCUniversal, the media and entertainment unit most harmed by the coronavirus, saw its revenues rise 39% to $7.96 billion, reflecting the reopening and recovery of the economy.
Across the company, Comcast reported $3.74 billion in net income in the period that ran from April through June, up from $2.99 billion during the same period last year. Revenue was $28.5 billion, a 20% increase from the $23.7 billion a year earlier.
Comcast broke second-quarter records for the number of broadband customers (354,000) and total subscribers (294,000) it added. The Xfinity-branded cable unit’s revenue was $16 billion, up 10.9% from last year. The firm’s wireless phone business signed up 280,000 subscribers, the most net additions since the launch of Xfinity Mobile in 2017.
Meanwhile, more customers continued to flee pay-TV for online streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu. Comcast lost 399,000 video customers during the second quarter.
“We remain committed to innovating for our customers and investing for a strong future,” Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “I have great confidence in our strategy and our ability to execute, which is reflected in our decision to restart our share repurchase program during the quarter, earlier than previously planned.”
Comcast paused stock buybacks in 2019 to help reduce its debt load after buying Sky, the U.K.-based pay-TV provider. The company began repurchasing shares this past May, earlier than anticipated, and bought back $500 million of its stock, officials said. Businesses spend cash to buy back their own shares to boost stock prices and put money in investors’ pockets.
Comcast’s shares closed Thursday at $58.11, up 0.22% (0.13).
The company’s Peacock streaming service will make its international debut later this year when it becomes available for Sky customers in Europe. Peacock, which largely carries content from the NBCUniversal library, has 54 million sign-ups and more than 20 million monthly active accounts since launching last year, Roberts said during an earnings call. Comcast has used its broadcast rights of the Tokyo Olympics to steer more consumers to Peacock.
Revenue at Sky was $5.2 billion, up 28% from the second quarter last year.