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‘Ted’ Has Last Laugh for Universal

13 Feb, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Strong home entertainment sales of raunchy comedy Ted and actioner The Bourne Legacy contributed to Universal Studios increasing fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31) revenue 9% to $1.4 billion compared with $1.3 billion during the previous-year period.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment revenue includes packaged media, electronic sellthrough and transactional VOD.

Operating cash flow in the quarter declined 4.7% to $84 million from $89 million last year, due to higher amortization film costs and marketing expenses related to the theatrical releases of Les Misérables and This Is 40 late in the quarter. The titles, in addition to Pitch Perfect, contributed to the higher revenue in the quarter.

For the fiscal year, pro forma revenue from Universal Studios increased more than 12% to $5.2 billion compared with $4.6 billion in 2011, driven by higher theatrical revenue from Ted, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax and Les Misérables.

Pro forma operating cash flow increased to $79 million compared with $24 million in 2011, primarily reflecting higher revenue from the 2012 film slate, partially offset by increased amortization of film costs.

Separately, parent Comcast Corp. said it narrowed video subscriber losses in the quarter to 7,000 compared losses of 17,000 subs last year. For the year, Comcast shed 336,000 video subs compared with losing 459,000 subs in 2011. Comcast ended the year with more than 21.9 million video subs.

Comcast also said it would buy out GE's minority 49.5% stake in NBC Universal for $18.1 billion, which includes the network's famed 30 Rockefeller Center building.

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