Sharply curtailing losses of cable-TV subscribers from the year-ago period, Comcast Corp. on Wednesday reported solid third-quarter earnings growth in its cable businesses, including the cable networks at newly acquired NBCUniversal, but weaknesses in the NBC broadcast-TV and Universal film businesses.
The Comcast earnings are being closely watched because surprising third-quarter weaknesses at Cablevision and Time Warner Cable pummeled share prices in the cable sector.
The Philadelphia cable and media giant said revenues rose by 4.9 percent to $14.3 billion in the third quarter compared with the year-ago period, while profits expanded by 4.7 percent to $908 million. Per share profits were 33 cents, compared with 31 cents.
The most pleasant surprise was the loss of 165,000 cable-TV subscribers. The year-ago loss had been 275,000 and Wall Street analysts predicted a drain of 180,000 to 200,000.
Improvements in cable-TV subscriber retention are being made even as AT&T Inc. continues to expand its TV service into Comcast's franchise areas outside of the Northeast, company officials say.
The company also added 261,000 high-speed Internet customers in the third quarter, compared with 249,000 in the prior-year period.
Contact staff writer Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897 or [email protected]
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