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Comcast Q4 sinks on cord-cutting, Peacock losses

January 26, 2023

Comcast posted fourth-quarter earnings down as losses grew at its Peacock streaming service and the cable business lost subscribers. There were also $638 million (€587.7m) in severance costs as staff were cut.

Peacock reported 20 million subscribers up from 15 million in October, but the investment in the streaming service expanded its quarterly loss to $978 million, dragging down earnings at the NBCUniversal unit.

Comcast President Michael Cavanagh said Peacock lost $2.5 billion in 2022 and that losses would peak at $3 billion in 2023.

Cord-cutting cost the company 440,000 video subscribers while it blamed Hurricane Ian for a loss in broadband customers at Comcast Cable.

Nonetheless Comcast financial results overall came in ahead of projections. Fourth-quarter net income was down 1.1 per cent to $3 billion, or 70 cents a share, from $3.1 billion, or 66 cents a share a year ago. The results included $541 million in higher severance expenses, with $305 million coming at Comcast’s cable unit. Revenue rose 0.7 per cent to $30.6 billion.

“I am proud of how our team executed throughout 2022,” said CEO Brian Roberts. “We are excited to begin the new year as an innovative leader in large profitable markets with a strong balance sheet and a strategy to drive incremental returns and bring outstanding content and experiences to our customers. The board’s confidence in our position and path forward is underscored by today’s announcement that we are increasing our dividend for the 15th consecutive year.”

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