Comcast ups revenue but cord-cutting grows

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Comcast beat Wall Street forecasts for Q3 as the company added high-speed internet customers, but it lost more video subscribers than expected. Revenue rose 21.2 per cent to $26.83 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $26.77 billion (€24.1bn).

Comcast showed that its focus on the higher-margin broadband business – necessary to stream content – is helping to offset a decline in cable subscribers.

“Four things stood out as wrapped up the quarter: our incredible strength in broadband, the enduring popularity of our premium content, our strong global footing just one year after the Sky acquisition; and how the combination of these things puts us in a unique position to compete, including in the streaming market,” said Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts.

Revenue from the company’s high-speed internet business grew 9.3 per cent to $4.72 billion with the gain of 379,000 subscribers in the quarter, beating analysts’ average estimate of 344,000 net additions, according to research firm FactSet.

Comcast’s results also reflected the widespread cord-cutting across the cable business. The company lost 238,000 video customers in the three months ended September 30th, higher than the 224,000 it lost in the previous quarter.

The company’s NBCUniversal business, which includes NBC Entertainment and Universal Pictures, reported revenue of $8.30 billion, down 3.5 per cent from a year earlier. In April NBCUniversal is launching a streaming service called “Peacock,” which will be available as a subscription or with ads, stocked with 15,000 hours of content from the company’s library.

British pay-TV group Sky, which Comcast acquired after outbidding Twenty-First Century Fox last year, generated revenue of $4.55 billion, missing estimates of $4.75 billion. Comcast attributed that miss to tough macroeconomic conditions in the UK, Germany and Italy.


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