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Comcast Softens Third-Quarter Video Subscriber Loss

23 Oct, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Reduced film slate and unfavorable comparisons with last year’s ‘Despicable Me 2’ juggernaut undermine Universal studio results

Comcast Oct. 23 announced it lost 81,000 video subscribers in the third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) to end the period with more than 22.3 million subs. The loss was a 46% improvement from a loss of 127,000 video subs in the prior-year period.

Indeed, the No. 1 cabler said the subscriber results were the best for a third quarter in the past seven years — underscoring changing market conditions and Comcast’s ongoing challenge of retaining video subs.

Meanwhile, subsidiary Universal Studios posted operating cash flow of $151 million, which was down more than 20% from operating clash flow of $189 million a year ago. Revenue dropped 15% to more than $1.1 billion, from $1.4 billion a year ago.

In addition to a reduced theatrical film slate, quarterly results matched unfavorably against the strong year-over-year box office results from last year's Despicable Me 2 — a title that would generate $970.8 million at the global box office, including $368 million domestically.

More importantly, the animated title would go on to break sales records in home entertainment, earning $80 million across all retail platforms in its first week of release — breaking the record previously held by the first Despicable Me. By selling 4.5 million units, Despicable Me 2 outsold all animated titles released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD over the past three years and set a record for any animated Blu-ray title in its opening week, on top of setting a new first-week digital sales record, led by sales from Comcast’s nascent Xfinity Movie Store digital platform.


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