Comcast 2018 results: theme park revenue growth boosts confidence

Comcast’s fourth quarter and full year results for 2018 show revenue increases in the theme park segment, as the long-term road map for the park is underway.

In the fourth quarter, Universal’s theme park revenue increased 3.5% on last year to $1.5 billion. For the full year, revenue was up 4.4% to $5.7 billion – with visitors spending more per day.

Comcast is the parent of NBCUniversal which owns and operates Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Singapore.

In 2019, will launch two rides based on dependable IPs: Jurassic World at Universal Hollywood, and Harry Potter at Orlando.

Details of the new Jurassic World are being kept under wraps. However, according to a release from Universal Studios Hollywood, the Jurassic World Ride will also be a technologically-advanced attraction. It will “draw from favourite elements of the original” as part of a next-generation reimagining of the thrill ride.

The new Harry Potter coaster was first announced in a blog post by Universal on July 24. The post promised the ride experience would be something new, and take guests deeper into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

In the earnings call, Comcast Chief Financial Officer Michael Cavanagh said: “We remain bullish on the outlook for our parks over the next several years as we’re investing in a robust pipeline.”

Universal Parks & Resorts is opening a new hotel in Orlando this summer, and the theme park in Japan will open a Nintendo-themed area next year, and an entirely new park is coming to Beijing.

In 2018, NBCUniversal increased its capital spending more than 15% year-over-year to $1.7 billion. According to a statement, this primarily reflects an investment in theme parks.

Road map for parks

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said: “We’re confident in the long-term growth potential at our parks with an exciting road map as our partnership with Nintendo debuts at Universal Studios Japan in 2020 and we bring a brand-new, large park to Beijing the next year.”

Nothing was revealed about the rumoured new park in Orlando.

The company purchased land near the current Universal resort complex back in 2015 and in April this year, it filed permits with the state of Florida, indicating it is preparing to start preparation work. In July, the company said that the prospect of a third gate was “attractive”.

Hotel occupancy has topped 90% – as room more than doubled over the past five years. The company will open the first phase of Endless Summer Resort this year, a budget-friendly 2,800-room hotel.

During the earnings call it was also reported that domestic parks saw record results from their annual Halloween Horror Nights events. But Universal Studios Japan was a drag on results – as it suffered from a number of catastrophic weather events this year.

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