Comcast announced its quarterly earnings Thursday morning, and the company announced that it lost another 273,000 cable subscribers in the third quarter. Comcast had lost 477,000 such subscribers in the second quarter and around 400,000 in the first quarter.
However, Comcast gained 633,000 high-speed internet customers in the quarter, which it called a record. The results indicate that long-term cord-cutting trends are continuing, if not accelerating, and that Comcast’s stated strategy for emphasizing flexibility appears to be paying off.
And the company said that it has achieved 22 million “sign-ups” for its Peacock streaming service, although in that metric sign-ups are not the same thing as paying subscribers.
The company’s revenue was $25.53 billion vs. $24.74 billion expected by analysts, per CNBC. The company also added 100,000 more new broadband subscribers than analysts had predicted.
“We are nearly eight months into this pandemic — and despite many harsh realities, I couldn’t be more pleased and proud of how our team has worked together across the company to find safe and creative solutions to successfully operate in this environment,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in the release. “We are executing at the highest level; and perhaps, most importantly, accelerating innovation, which will drive long-term future growth.”
Theme park, revenue, however, dropped 80 percent over the year before, with the Universal Studios theme parks either closed or open at limited capacity. Theatrical revenue dropped 95 percent as well, with many movie theaters closed and much of the Universal movie slate delayed until next year.
Roberts, speaking at a Goldman Sachs virtual investor conference in mid-September, talked about the company’s changing priorities during the pandemic and amid the cord-cutting trend.
“One of the big pivots of Comcast the last decade is to really follow our customers’ needs and try to anticipate them and be a company that meets them. So in video with some customers who want it all,” Roberts said. “And other customers want to just be streaming. That may be because of financial reasons, habits, age, you name it . . . so video is very much part of our strategy and the DNA of the company.”
In possibly less-great news for Peacock, the announcement came late Wednesday, per Deadline, that “Brave New World,” which was one of the most high-profile series that debuted along with Peacock this summer, has been cancelled after one season. The sci-fi series, adapted from Aldous Huxley’s classic work and starring Alden Ehrenreich, received mostly negative reviews when it debuted on the streaming service this summer.
“Going forward, and as we emerge from the pandemic, we believe we are extremely well-positioned to provide seamless and integrated experiences for our customers and to deliver superior long-term growth and returns for our shareholders,” Roberts said in the earnings release.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
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