Comcast sinks 32%

Comcast Corporation, America's largest cable TV provider, said that its fourth-quarter earnings fell 32 percent, hit by a $600 million write-down of its investment in the Clearwire Corporation, the wireless technology provider.

Comcast's revenue and adjusted earnings were ahead of estimates, however, helped by growth in Comcast's video segment. In the fourth quarter Comcast earned $412 million, compared with $602 million, in the quarter a year ago.

The Clearwire write-down was expected; other investors like Google, the Intel Corporation and Time Warner Cable have recently taken similar charges against their earnings.

Comcast's revenue rose 9 percent to $8.77 billion, ahead of analyst forecasts for $8.64 billion in revenue. Comcast's video revenue rose 3 percent to $4.74 billion. The company lost 233,000 basic subscribers in the quarter but gained 247,000 digital customers, who pay more for service. Its average revenue per video customer rose 9 percent to $113.80 a month, helped by customers adding to their cable channel lineup, even in the recession.

Revenue from broadband Internet services rose 9 percent to $1.86 billion. Comcast added 184,000 Internet subscribers during the quarter, down 46 percent from the 341,000 it added in the year-ago quarter. The company ended the period with 14.9 million broadband customers.

For the year, Comcast earned $2.55 billion, the company's revenue rose 11 percent to $34.3 billion in 2008.

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