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Universal Studios Ups Q1 Cash Flow $63 Million

1 May, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Parent Comcast loses 60,000 video subscribers in the quarter

Universal Studios May 1 reported that first-quarter (ended March 31) revenue increased 2% to $1.2 billion driven by higher theatrical revenue from the box office performance of Les Miserables and releases of Identity Thief and Mama, as well as higher content licensing revenue from streaming services and other distribution channels.

The studio, which includes Universal Studios Home Entertainment, said operating cash flow topped $69 million compared to $6 million in the previous-year period due to improved performance and lower marketing expense from fewer theatrical releases compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, corporate parent Comcast said its weeklong campaign (March 25-31) enabling Xfinity TV subscribers to watch past seasons of more than 100 cable and premium channel for free generated 123 million views across myriad devices.

Comcast CEO Neil Smit, in a May 1 fiscal call, said set-top box views during the marathon were up 27%, excluding access on mobile and online, which were also up. The TV Everywhere promotion was designed to thwart consumer awareness of subscription video-on-demand platforms such as Netflix.

He added that Comcast’s SVOD service, Xfinity Streampix, is increasing streaming rights from a number of the programmers, and Streampix continues to grow, both in the service that we include for our high-value customers as well as the a la carte buys.

“There’s a lot of new product growth going on, but our real focus now is on [broadband platform] X1 and also on the gateway product of our in-home Wi-Fi,” Smit said.

Separately, the CEO announced the promotion of Cathy Avgiris to CFO of Comcast Cable, effective July 1. Avgiris succeeds Dave Scott, who is retiring. She has spearheaded Comcast’s Xfinity Internet, voice and consumer wireless businesses.

Finally, Comcast said it lost 60,000 video subscribers in the quarter, reflecting ongoing trends in the multichannel video programming distribution market. The cable operator lost 37,000 video subs during the same period last year. It finished the quarter with 21.9 million video subscribers.


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