Comcast posts in-line results, helped by 'Minions,' Internet unit growth
By Malathi Nayak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comcast Corp, the cable and entertainment company, posted in-line third-quarter results on Tuesday, helped by its NBCUniversal's box-office hit "Minions" and growth in its high-speed Internet and business services divisions.
Comcast, which is both the largest U.S. cable operator and the No. 1 U.S. high-speed Internet provider, reported total revenue rose 11.2 percent to $18.7 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30. Analysts on average had forecast revenue of $18.03 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net income attributable to Comcast fell 23 percent to $2 billion, or 80 cents per share, from a year earlier. Excluding items such as tax adjustments and acquisition-related items, profit was up 9.6 percent from a year ago, also at 80 cents per share, matching Wall Street estimates.
The company said 48,000 video subscribers departed from July through September, an improvement over a year earlier when it lost 81,000 users.
As viewers gravitate toward online video offerings, pay-TV operators are battling streaming video services from Netflix Inc and Hulu for subscribers.
Comcast has been enhancing features of its X1 set-top box and improving customer service in a bid to retain pay-TV subscribers. To gauge the appetite for online video, it is beta-testing an ad-supported short-form video service called "Watchable" targeting millenials and also plans to introduce a comedy-centric $3.99-a-month streaming service, called "Seeso."
Revenue from Comcast's high-speed Internet business rose about 10 percent to $3.1 billion in the quarter, and Internet customer additions rose 1.5 percent to 320,000. Business services revenue jumped 19.5 percent to $1.21 billion.
At NBCUniversal, revenue grew 21 percent to $7.15 billion from a year earlier. Revenue at the film studio climbed 64 percent from a year earlier to $2 billion, boosted by the blockbuster film "Minions," which crossed $1 billion in revenue. Continued...