Comcast lost 388,000 video subscribers in Q1

Comcast said it lost 388,000 residential video subscribers in the first quarter but its cable segment revenues still rose on the strength of broadband and wireless growth.

The quarterly losses, which were nearly four times as high as the 107,000 residential video subscribers the company lost in the same quarter last year, reduced Comcast’s total to 19.9 million residential subscribers.

Comcast also lost 22,000 business video subscribers during the quarter. At Sky, Comcast’s European pay TV operator, total customer relationships decreased by 65,000 to 23.9 million in the first quarter, which the attributed to the postponement of sports events and the suspension of certain sales channels due to COVID-19.

Despite the continued heavy losses for Comcast’s video business, consolidated cable segment revenues rose 4.5% to $14.9 billion and adjusted EBITDA rose 6.1% to more than $6 billion. That was largely thanks to high-speed internet revenues jumping 9.3%, wireless revenues soaring 52.1% (though still only totaling $343 million) and business service revenues climbing 8%. However, Comcast warned of a shaky second quarter due to the ongoing pandemic.

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“Our Cable Communications results, while strong in the first quarter 2020, will be negatively affected in the second quarter by the significant deterioration in domestic economic conditions in recent weeks and by the costs associated with our support of customer connectivity as the population increasingly works and learns remotely from home. NBCUniversal and Sky results also will be negatively impacted to a greater extent in the second quarter 2020. As a result, we expect the impacts of COVID-19 to increase in significance in the second quarter 2020 and to have a material adverse impact on our consolidated results of operations over the near-to-medium term,” the company wrote in a news release.

NBCUniversal is clearly already feeling the effects of COVID-19 as the segment’s consolidated revenues fell 7% and adjusted EBITDA plummeted 25.3% to $1.75 billion. While broadcast television managed some growth for the segment and cable networks stayed mostly flat, filmed entertainment and theme parks both recorded significant declines with movie theaters and theme parks closed due to coronavirus.

Comcast’s consolidated first-quarter revenues fell slightly to $26.6 billion and adjusted EBITDA fell 4.9% to $8.1 billion.