By Lillian Rizzo 

Comcast Corp.'s second-quarter revenue fell 12% from a year earlier, as the impact of the coronavirus on its advertising-dependent businesses more than offset the cable giant's continued success in signing up more broadband customers.

The Philadelphia-based company said revenue for the quarter ended June 30 was about $23.72 billion, down from $26.86 billion in the year-earlier period. Net profit was nearly $3 billion, or 65 cents per share, down about 4% from $3.12 billion, or 68 cents, a year earlier. FactSet analysts were expecting earnings per share of 55 cents.

Comcast's NBCUniversal unit was hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Revenue fell 25% to $6.1 billion due to the closure of theme parks, halted theatrical releases and a sharp decline in advertising. The theme-park business suffered a 94% drop in revenue. While the Orlando and Japan theme parks have been open since June, the Hollywood location has yet to reopen. Advertising revenue at NBCU's cable networks and broadcast-television units fell by 27% and 28%, respectively.

Its broadband business, on the other hand, had its best second quarter on record with 323,000 new subscribers, a 54% increase from last year's second quarter. This didn't include more than 600,000 broadband customers that either signed up for free or weren't disconnected due to relief pledges put in place by the Federal Communications Commission. While such pledges were discontinued July 1, Comcast has said it doesn't plan to disconnect customers without working with them first.

The company continued to lose cable-TV customers, with 477,000 people cutting the cord in the second quarter, compared with 224,000 last year. This marked the 13th consecutive quarter of pay-TV customer losses.

Pay-TV customers of Comcast and its peers continue to migrate to streaming services such as Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co.'s Disney+. Last week, AT&T Inc. said its DirecTV satellite business lost 886,000 U.S. premium-TV subscribers, and another 68,000 online-only channel bundles.

Comcast Cable, which comprises its broadband, pay-TV, landline and mobile businesses, had about $14.4 billion in revenue, slightly down from the same period last year. Revenue was affected by adjustments made for customer regional-sports-network fees, as Comcast has said it would pass down any rebates to its customers.

Comcast's newest business, Sky, which was acquired in 2018, also suffered in Europe. The unit's revenue fell 16% to about $4.1 billion, and its advertising revenue in particular dropped 43%.

The company said Sky was able to keep nearly all of its sports-package customers, who weren't charged during the months that European soccer and other sports were paused.

On Tuesday, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Comcast's Universal Pictures reached a deal that would allow movies to play in theaters for much less time before moving to home video.

The agreement came after a public spat between the two companies on how soon movies should be released to digital platforms for home viewing. In April, Universal made "Trolls World Tour" available as a $20 online rental, which was considered a success.

Write to Lillian Rizzo at Lillian.Rizzo@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 30, 2020 07:16 ET (11:16 GMT)

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