By David Owen
October 30 – US media conglomerate Comcast has posted a third-quarter loss after including $8.6 billion of impairment charges related to Sky, its UK-centred media and telecommunications business with live rights to Premier League football.
The impairments partly reflected reduced estimated future cash flows stemming from what Comcast described as “macroeconomic conditions in Sky’s territories”.
Brian Roberts, Comcast chairman and chief executive, said that Sky “continues to prudently manage through a difficult and rapidly changing macroeconomic and geopolitical period in the UK and Europe”.
Despite “challenges that may lie ahead”, Roberts claimed, Comcast – whose operations also include the key Olympic broadcaster NBCUniversal – was in “an enviable strategic and financial position, and our future remains bright”.
Taking everything into account, Comcast recorded a pre-tax loss of $3.65 billion on revenue of $29.8 billion for the three months to September 30. This compared with income of $5.17 billion on revenue of $30.3 billion in the comparable 2021 period.
Sky’s revenue contribution amounted to $4.25 billion, down from fractionally under $5 billion, reflecting the dollar’s recent strength versus European currencies.
Comcast described Sky’s direct-to-consumer revenue of $3.5 billion as “consistent with the prior year period, reflecting increased revenue in the UK…offset by decreased revenue in Italy and Germany”. Advertising revenue dipped 1.6% to $471 million.
Total customer relationships rose by 320,000 in the third quarter to 23 million, helped by the early start of the European club football season as a consequence of the unusual timing of the approaching FIFA World Cup. The Qatar-based tournament necessitates a six-week break in Premier League matches between November 13 and Boxing Day.
Comcast acquired Sky for £30 billion in 2018, outbidding Walt Disney.
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