Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) today reported results for the quarter ended March 31, 2006.
The following table highlights results for the first quarter of 2006 compared to the first quarter of 2005 (dollars in millions, except per share amounts; units in thousands):
1Q06 % Growth Comcast Consolidated Revenue $5,901 10% Operating Income (1) $1,050 21% Earnings per Share (1) $0.22 267% Operating Cash Flow (1) $2,201 11% Comcast Cable Revenue $5,588 9% Operating Cash Flow (1) $2,215 12% Revenue Generating Unit Additions 965 64%
Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation said, "Our first quarter results set new records across the board. RGU additions accelerated in the first three months to the highest level in the Company's history. We posted record subscriber additions in digital, high-speed Internet and voice and added more basic subscribers this quarter than any first quarter in the last three years. This terrific performance reflects our success in delivering superior services and in forging broader relationships and stronger connections with our customers.
"The next several years will provide tremendous growth opportunities for Comcast. Comcast Digital Voice is available to more people every day, and by the end of this year we will be marketing our 'Triple Play' package of video, voice and data services to the majority of our customers. This will continue to reinforce our competitive advantage and position us to deliver more value to our customers and shareholders."
Cable Segment Results (2)
Cable revenue increased 9% to $5.6 billion in the first quarter of 2006 reflecting the addition of 965,000 new video, high-speed Internet and phone subscriptions. At the same time we maintained stable to higher average revenue per subscriber, as well as modest growth in our advertising business, as outlined below.
Video - Added 340,000 new digital cable subscribers during the quarter - highest level of first quarter additions in Company history - Added 47,000 new basic cable subscribers during the quarter - highest level of first quarter additions in three years
Video revenue increased 6% to $3.6 billion in the first quarter of 2006, reflecting a 1.3 million or 14% increase in the number of digital customers from the first quarter of 2005. Comcast Cable ended the quarter with 10.1 million digital cable subscribers, a 47% penetration rate of the Company's 21.5 million basic cable subscribers.
Growth in video revenue and digital cable subscribers also reflects increasing consumer demand for new digital features including ON DEMAND, digital video recorders (DVR) and HDTV programming. Driven by ON DEMAND movie and event purchases, pay-per-view revenues increased 29% from the first quarter of 2005. Pay-per-view revenue has shown strong growth with the rollout of ON DEMAND, increasing more than 20% on average over the past two years. Further contributing to video revenue growth, 28% of digital customers subscribed to DVR and/or HDTV services as of March 31, 2006 compared to 17% in the prior year.
High-Speed Internet - Added 437,000 high-speed Internet subscribers during the quarter - highest level of first quarter additions in Company history
High-Speed Internet revenues increased 22% to $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2006, reflecting a 1.5 million or 21% increase in subscribers from the prior year and stable average monthly revenue per subscriber of $43.14. Comcast Cable ended the first quarter of 2006 with 9.0 million high-speed Internet subscribers or 22% penetration of available homes.
Phone - 211,000 Comcast Digital Voice (CDV) customers added during the quarter - Added more CDV subscribers in first quarter of 2006 than in all of 2005 - CDV service now marketed to 19 million homes or 45% of Comcast's footprint
Phone revenue increased 9% to $191 million reflecting a $37 million increase in CDV revenues as a result of the significant increase in CDV subscribers, offset by a $21 million or 12% decline in circuit-switched phone revenues as Comcast transitions to marketing CDV. Comcast Cable ended the first quarter of 2006 with 416,000 CDV customers. On a net basis, Comcast Cable reported 141,000 net new phone customer additions in the first quarter of 2006 compared to 4,000 in 2005. By the end of 2006, CDV service will be marketed to 32 million homes or approximately 80% of Comcast's footprint.
Revenue generating units (RGU) represent the sum of basic and digital video subscribers, high-speed Internet and phone subscribers. Comcast added a record level of 965,000 RGUs in the first quarter of 2006, a 64% increase from the same period in 2005. Comcast ended the first quarter of 2006 with 42 million RGUs, an increase of 3 million units from the prior year.
Advertising revenue increased 4% to $309 million in the first quarter of 2006 when compared to 2005, reflecting general weakness in the regional and national advertising marketplace.
Operating Cash Flow (as defined in Table 7) grew 12% to $2.2 billion in the first quarter of 2006. Operating Cash Flow margin increased to 39.6% in the first quarter of 2006 from 38.6% in the same period of 2005 reflecting strong revenue growth and our continuing success in controlling the growth of operating costs.
Capital expenditures of $864 million in the first quarter of 2006 remained relatively unchanged when compared to one year ago. In the first quarter of 2006 and consistent with the prior year, 74% of cable capital expenditures
were variable and directly associated with new product deployment and strong consumer demand for our products.
Content Segment Results (3)
Comcast's Content segment consists of our national cable networks E! Entertainment Television and Style Network (E! Networks), The Golf Channel, OLN, G4 and AZN Television.
The Content segment reported first quarter 2006 revenue of $239 million, a 12% increase from 2005 reflecting increases in network ratings and advertising revenue. Operating Cash Flow declined 34% to $50 million in the first quarter of 2006, primarily reflecting programming and production expenses related to OLN's coverage of the National Hockey League (NHL) beginning in the fourth quarter of 2005.
Corporate and Other (3)
Corporate and Other includes Comcast Spectacor, corporate overhead and other operations and eliminations between Comcast's businesses. In the first quarter of 2006, Comcast reported Corporate and Other revenue of $74 million and an Operating Cash Flow loss of $64 million, as compared to revenue of $44 million and an Operating Cash Flow loss of $55 million in 2005. The increase in revenue reflects the return of National Hockey League games at Comcast Spectacor for the 2006 season.
Operating Income increased 21% to $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2006 due to strong results at Comcast Cable including record-setting subscriber additions, as described above.
Net income increased to $466 million, or $0.22 per share, in the first quarter of 2006, compared to net income of $143 million or $0.06 per share in the first quarter of 2005. In addition to strong operational results at Comcast Cable, the current quarter also reflects investment gains of $64 million, the impact of stock option expense totaling $34 million and a lower income tax rate.
Investment gains were due primarily to increases in the fair market value of our investment portfolio while income tax expense reflects a benefit related to the favorable resolution of certain tax matters. The income tax rate for the first quarter of 2006 excluding this benefit was approximately 44%. The prior-year quarter results include investment losses related to declines in the fair market value of our investment portfolio of $36 million and a $108 million charge to other expense primarily related to a litigation settlement, net of other items.
Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities increased to $1.7 billion in the first quarter of 2006 from $1.3 billion in the same period of 2005 due primarily to stronger operating results and changes in operating assets and liabilities.
Free Cash Flow (described further on Table 4) increased 136% to $775 million in the first quarter of 2006 compared to $328 million in 2005, due primarily to growth in consolidated Operating Cash Flow and changes in working capital. The conversion rate of Operating Cash Flow into Free Cash Flow increased to 35% in the first quarter of 2006 from 16% in the first quarter of last year.
Share Repurchase Program
Comcast repurchased $723 million of its Class A Special Common Stock, or 27 million shares, during the first quarter of 2006. Remaining availability under the Company's stock repurchase program is $4.6 billion. Comcast expects such repurchases to occur from time to time in the open market or in private transactions, subject to market conditions.
Since the inception of the repurchase program in December 2003, the Company has invested $5.7 billion in its common stock and related securities. These investments include repurchasing $4.3 billion or 154 million shares of its common stock and paying $1.4 billion to redeem several debt issues exchangeable into 47 million shares of Comcast common stock.
2006 Financial Outlook
For 2006, excluding pending transactions with Adelphia, Time Warner and Susquehanna Communications, Comcast affirms the following previously issued guidance:
- Cable and consolidated revenue growth between 9 - 10% - Cable Operating Cash Flow growth between 10 - 11%* - Cable capital expenditures to be consistent with 2005 at approximately $165 per basic cable subscriber - Total Revenue Generating Unit additions of at least 3.5 million - Consolidated Operating Cash Flow growth of between 9 - 10%*, reflecting continuing investment in our Content businesses - Conversion of between 25 - 30% of consolidated Operating Cash Flow into Free Cash Flow** * Includes the impact of expensing stock options in 2005 and 2006. The impact on Operating Cash Flow for 2005 had we expensed stock options would have been an incremental expense of approximately $166 million, including $117 million at Comcast Cable (see Table 7-A). ** Free Cash Flow is defined as "Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities From Continuing Operations" (as stated in our Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows) reduced by capital expenditures and cash paid for intangible assets; and increased by any payments related to certain non-operating items, net of estimated tax benefit (such as income taxes on investment sales, and non-recurring payments related to income tax and litigation contingencies of acquired companies). Please see Table 4 for further details. (1) Operating Cash Flow % Growth is adjusted as if stock options had been expensed in 2005 while operating income and earnings per share % Growth are unadjusted. See Table 7-A for reconciliation of "as adjusted" financial data. (2) Cable results are presented on a pro forma, as adjusted, basis. Pro forma results adjust only for certain acquisitions and dispositions. There were no significant acquisitions or dispositions in the first quarter of 2006. These "as adjusted" results are presented as if stock options had been expensed in 2005. Please refer to Table 7-A for a reconciliation of "as adjusted" financial data. (3) Adjusted as if stock options had been expensed in 2005.
Conference Call Information
Comcast Corporation will host a conference call with the financial community today April 27, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET). The conference call will be broadcast live on the Company's Investor Relations website at http://www.cmcsa.com or http://www.cmcsk.com. A recording of the call will be available on the Investor Relations website starting at 12:30 p.m. ET on April 27, 2006. Those parties interested in participating via telephone should dial (800) 263-8495 with the conference ID number 7310744. A telephone replay will begin immediately following the call until April 28, 2006 at midnight ET. To access the rebroadcast, please dial (800) 642-1687 and enter passcode number 7310744. To automatically receive Comcast financial news by email, please visit http://www.cmcsa.com or http://www.cmcsk.com and subscribe to email alerts.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or our actual results to differ materially from those expressed in any such forward-looking statements. Readers are directed to Comcast's periodic and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a description of such risks and uncertainties.
In this discussion we sometimes refer to financial measures that are not presented according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Certain of these measures are considered "non-GAAP financial measures" under the SEC regulations; those rules require the supplemental explanation and reconciliation provided in Table 7 of this release. All percentages are calculated based on actual amounts. Minor differences may exist due to rounding.
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (http://www.comcast.com) is the nation's leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services. With 21.5 million cable customers, 9.0 million high-speed Internet customers, and 1.5 million voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.
The Company's content networks and investments include E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, The Golf Channel, OLN, G4, AZN Television, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One and four regional Comcast SportsNets. The Company also has a majority ownership in Comcast Spectacor, whose major holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia. Comcast Class A common stock and Class A Special common stock trade on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbols CMCSA and CMCSK, respectively.