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Apr 25, 2019

Comcast profit beats analysts' estimates as revenue falls short

Comcast

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Comcast Corp. (CMCSA.O) reported better-than-expected profit as the company’s fast-growing internet business continued to counter the steady loss of pay-TV subscribers.

The largest U.S. cable company said first-quarter profit grew to 76 cents a share, surpassing analysts’ estimates of 68 cents. Revenue increased to US$26.9 billion, short of Wall Street projections, reflecting lower sales at NBCUniversal and currency fluctuations that hurt results for the Sky European pay-TV service.

Key Insights

- The results underscore the cross-currents confronting the media-telecom giant and its rivals: Consumers are flocking to fast internet access, providing a boost to Comcast. But they’re going online for many reasons, including to watch less-expensive video services like Netflix, costing the company pay-TV subscribers.

- During the quarter, Comcast signed up 375,000 new broadband customers, just shy of the 379,000 it added a year earlier and topping analysts’ forecasts of 354,000.

- To win new customers, Comcast has introduced faster broadband service, started selling broadband on a stand-alone basis and added features to its home Wi-Fi.

- The Philadelphia-based company lost 121,000 TV subscribers, more than the 96,000 that left a year ago. Analysts had expected 113,000 video subscriber losses.

- Revenue at Sky, bought last year for US$40 billion, declined 5 per cent because of currency changes, even as subscribers grew. Profit also slumped. Comcast is starting to integrate the two companies.

Market Reaction

- Comcast’s stock was little changed in light premarket trading. Shares of the company had risen 23 per cent this year through Wednesday, compared with 17 per cent for the S&P 500 index.