Advanced Television

Just 39,000 cut Comcast cord as NBCU consolidated

May 4, 2011

Comcast lost 39,000 cable television subscribers in the first quarter as its video subscriber count slipped to 22.76 million, similar to that of Netflix which recently achieved 22.8 million US customers.

The three per cent dip in overall video subscribers was less than analysts expected and marked the company’s narrowest loss in years. It came as the company gained Internet and voice subscribers and benefited from the integration of NBCUniversal for the first full quarter.

Comcast also managed to squeeze more revenues out of fewer customers. Video revenues were up 1.7 per cent to $4.9 billion.

Overall, the cable and entertainment group reported first-quarter revenues of $12.1 billion, a 32 per cent increase from the same time a year earlier. This is the first quarter the company is reporting integrated results after its takeover of NBCUniversal, which closed in January. Net income for the quarter was $943 million, up 9 per cent from a year earlier.

NBCUniversal, which includes the company’s cable television stations, the NBC broadcast network, the Universal Pictures film studio and theme parks, reported overall revenues dipped to $4.35 billion from $4.9 billion last year when NBC generated $782 million from programming around the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Excluding the Olympics, NBC broadcast revenues were up 4.3 per cent thanks to stronger advertising revenues. NBC’s cable networks, which include MSNBC and Bravo, saw revenues jump 13.3 per cent to $2bn.

“The performance of NBCUniversal was led by our cable networks, which posted strong growth across the board,” said Brian Roberts, Comcast chief executive. “While we’ve only been operating the NBCUniversal businesses for three months, we’re encouraged by a seamless integration and we are working diligently to invest and build value for our shareholders.”

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