Comcast chief executive Brian L. Roberts said the company had a "terrific start" for 2011.
"The performance of NBCUniversal was led by our cable networks, which posted strong growth across the board," he said. "While we've only been operating the NBCUniversal businesses for three months, we're encouraged by a seamless integration."
Roberts and other executives plan a conference call with Wall Street analysts and investors Wednesday morning. Typically, Comcast releases earnings the day of the conference call, but the company released the figures a day early so analysts could digest them.
Direct comparisons with Comcast's prior-year performance are complicated by the fact that first-quarter 2011 was the first containing revenue and profits from the entertainment and news giant NBCUniversal.
Comcast closed the deal to acquire a 51 percent controlling interest in NBCUniversal Jan. 28, or about one-third of the way through the first quarter.
Another complication: NBCUniversal's revenues in the first quarter of 2010 were inflated by Olympics advertising, while its profits were hurt by financial losses from those same Olympics.
That said, if Comcast had owned NBCUniversal all three months of the first quarter, the combined entity would have reported $13.3 billion in revenue, flat from the prior year.
Without the Olympics-related ad revenue in the first quarter of 2010, Comcast/NBCUniversal's revenue would have been $12.5 billion, which means the combined entity's revenues rose more than 6 percent between the first quarters of 2010 and 2011 when adjusted for the Olympics.
Revenue at USA and other NBCUniversal cable networks rose 13 percent, to $2 billion, in the first quarter, while revenue from the NBC broadcast-television division declined to $1.4 billion from $2.1 billion because of the Olympics.
First-quarter revenue at the Universal movie studio fell to $925 million from $1.1 billion in the year-earlier period, while theme-park revenue rose to $95 million from $82 million because of the popularity of a Harry Potter attraction at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Fla.
The earnings were released at 4:30 p.m., and Comcast shares rose more than 1 percent, or 20 cents, to $26.91 a share in after-market trading.
In the Media Money
Comcast Corp. closed on its deal
to acquire a controlling stake in NBCUniversal Jan. 28. Revenue for the largest nine pay-television and entertainment companies for 2010.
Company 2010 Revenue
Comcast/NBCU $54.5 billion*
Walt Disney Co. $38.1 billion
News Corp. $32.8 billion
DirecTV Inc. $24.1 billion
Time Warner Cable Inc. $18.9 billion
CBS Corp. $14.1 billion
Dish Network Corp. $12.6 billion
Time Warner Inc. $11.6 billion
Viacom Inc. $9.3 billion
*Combines pre-joint-venture revenue of $37.9 billion for Comcast, $16.6 billion for NBCUniversal.
SOURCE: Securities and Exchange Commission filings
Contact staff writer Bob Fernandez
at 215-854-5897 or email@example.com.