Comcast earnings down but sales up

Expenses related to its deal for NBC Universal and a dip in subscriber growth squeeze Comcast's third-quarter earnings. Revenue gets a boost from advertising and cable subscribers.

Costs from its pending acquisition of NBC Universal and lower subscriber growth took a bite out of Comcast's third-quarter earnings.

For the quarter ended September 30, the cable company reported net income of $867 million, an 8.2 percent decline from $944 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income per share was 31 cents for the quarter just ended, compared with 33 cents a year ago. Earnings were impacted by the $66 million in total expenses that Comcast was forced to take in relation to its NBCU transaction. But the third-quarter profits were also hit by a 3.5 percent decline in video subscribers.

Sales showed a healthier picture, rising 7.3 percent to $9.5 billion. Comcast saw gains in the number of Internet subscribers (6.5 percent) and the number of voice customers (13.2 percent), while the number of Triple Play customers (video, voice, and Internet) rose by 2.5 percent.

Third-quarter sales also got a boost from growth in advertising dollars and higher revenue per subscriber. Even though the number of video customers dropped by 3.5 percent, Comcast's average monthly revenue per video customer rose by 10.4 percent to $129.75. Overall revenue from the cable division grew by 6.9 percent to $8.98 billion. Revenue from the company's business-class services rose as well, by 55 percent.

"Our results mark the third consecutive quarter of accelerating growth in revenue and operating cash flow, driven by overall customer growth, a robust advertising market, and continued strength in Business Services," Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. "As we near completion of our All-Digital and DOCSIS 3.0 deployments, we are increasing the pace of innovation and new product introductions to our customers."

Comcast is still awaiting government approval of its intended acquisition of NBCU , which it has said it hopes will happen before the end of the year.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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