Theme park earnings up 25% for Comcast's NBCUniversal division

Posted Friday, April 27, 2018 8:30 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The theme park division generated $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2018, the company said as it released its earnings before the market opened. Theme parks’ adjusted earnings increased nearly 25 percent to $495 million in the first quarter of 2018, “reflecting higher revenue, partially offset by an increase in operating expenses,” the earnings report said.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, April 30, 2018 2:58 PM

"Adjusted income" up 25% (whatever Adjusted means, but take it as fact), but flat out "Revenue" up 15%?? Those are HUGE numbers, considering the ginormous year over year revenue/Income increases those parks have put up ever since the dawn of the HP expansions. I mean, those numbers are unheard of without some new Resort/park expansion (like opening Shanghai, or the first/second HP expansions in Orlando). I mean seriously, Volcano Bay and Japan's Minion's Park are the only new parks/attractions that weren't open in 2017 ( Harry Potter in Hollywood was already open for this same quarter in 2017).

Not to discount the amazing increase in numbers that Comcast has delivered over the last 8 years, but is this some accounting BS? I mean in that while Easter Sunday was technically in Q2 (same as 2017), the fact that it was Sunday April 1, means that possibly some Q2 Easter vacation visits (money) actually fell into Q1 this year, when all of it would have been in Q2 last year, and they aren't mentioning that? I mean families/schools that are out for Holy Week would have gone to Florida with only Easter Sunday itself being in Q2? Thus all the pre-easter build up (and related days out of school) fell into Q1. I'm not sure, and while most public schools fix their Spring Breaks so that they don't move even though Easter does, I have to wonder if this huge spike has something to do with that.

Edit: Ignore this paragraph, (I forgot that Wet N' Wild closed 12/31/16) They claim Volcano Bay was a part of the increase, but really how much more could VB do in the winter quarter, compared to whatever monies Wet N' Wild would have produced? More no doubt, but I can't imagine enough to Spike a total revenue number (that covers all 4 resorts) in any meaningful way. Additionally, there is a F-ton of depreciation and other operating expense that applies to that new VB revenue, that Wet N' Wild wouldn't have had since it was 40 years old. They acknowledge that somewhat with the the "an increase in operating expenses" comment in the article, but the type of stair step increase in revenue/expense that happens with opening a new property isn't what they're really saying there. I would guess that VB is probably a very small portion of that overall Revenue increase, and probably an even smaller portion of that Net Income increase. (willing to be proven wrong).

Personally I'd love to know how much the Lunar New Year marketing efforts for US Hollywood increased those dates. There was a huge marketing outreach to the Chinese community for that, and the parks were packed for those events.

As much as I rag on Cedar Fair for their earnings releases (it's always rainy somewhere), they are fastidious in indicating if one quarter has an additional/less day compared to prior years, or if the Easter holiday falls into Q1 vs Q2, for ease of comparability. I'd be very curious to know if that's what actually happened here.

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Monday, April 30, 2018 3:22 PM
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Monday, April 30, 2018 3:15 PM

There are more rooms, more parks and everything there is more expensive than it was a year ago, so it hardly seems like a stretch to me. Wet-n-Wild wasn't open in Q1 last year, and this year Volcano Bay was blacked out to employees for much of the year. Orlando saw record visitation the last two weeks of the quarter, too.

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Monday, April 30, 2018 3:30 PM

Jeff said:

Orlando saw record visitation the last two weeks of the quarter, too.

1) Forgot WnW closed 12/31/16, I've edited my post to reflect that

2) isn't your quote above sort of what I'm getting at? That those last two weeks of the Quarter may have been unduly spiked because of Easter moving to Sun April 1? I would ask how were the weeks leading up to Sunday Apr 15 this year? Were they super packed, or did the "season" see a quick and dramatic drop off? If they were busy too, then Comcast should be thrilled.

I'm not ragging on them, as you're right they have expanded the Orlando resort and are putting heads in beds, and that money certainly piles up. I was just curious as to how much of these (huge!) increases might be a timing difference.

We shall see when q2 results come out in July. :)

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