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Markets News

UPDATE 1-Comcast beats revenue expectations on broadband growth

(Adds shares, details from conference call, analyst estimates)

Oct 29 (Reuters) - Comcast Corp on Thursday reported better than expected third-quarter revenue, as strong sign-ups for broadband offset pandemic-related weakness in its theme park and filmed entertainment businesses.

The media giant gained 633,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter, beating analysts’ average estimate of 534,000 net additions, according to research firm FactSet.

Comcast has taken a financial hit from the pandemic, which has wiped out movie ticket sales and hurt television advertising. But coronavirus restrictions have also given a big lift to services - like broadband and streaming video - that are in high demand due to people working from and staying at home.

The company’s NBCUniversal segment, which includes NBC Entertainment and Universal Pictures, reported revenue of $6.72 billion, down 18.9% from a year earlier. Revenue at the filmed entertainment unit fell 25% from a year earlier due to shuttered movie theaters. Theme park revenue plummeted 80.9%.

The company said on Thursday that it expects its theme park business to break even at some point in 2021, regardless of whether its California park reopens. It reiterated plans to open its new Beijing park by the summer of 2021.

Comcast said it had 22 million sign-ups to its recently-launched Peacock streaming service.

Broadcast TV advertising revenue was down 11.5% and ad revenue at Comcast’s cable networks fell 2.1% - declines the company attributed to a lack of new content.

Comcast lost 273,000 video customers in the quarter, fewer than the 466,000 loss estimated by FactSet.

The company reported adjusted earnings per share of 65 cents, down 17.7% from the same period a year ago, but beating the Wall Street consensus estimate of 52 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

It reported third-quarter revenue of $25.53 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $24.74 billion.

Shares of the company were up 1.26% on Thursday. (Reporting by Helen Coster in New York. Additional reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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