Comcast revenues beat Street; records big boost in video customers
By Malathi Nayak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comcast Corp posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and added the most video customers in any quarter in eight years, even as viewers gravitate toward online offerings.
The largest U.S. cable operator and the No. 1 U.S. high-speed Internet provider said on Wednesday it also raised its annual dividend by 10 percent to $1.10 per share and earmarked $5 billion in stock buybacks for 2016 as part of a $10 billion program.
Shares of Comcast rose 4.5 percent to $57.04 in mid-day trading.
Total revenue at Philadelphia-based Comcast rose 8.5 percent to $19.25 billion in the fourth quarter, surpassing analysts' expectations of $18.76 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net income attributable to the company rose 2.4 percent to $2 billion, or 79 cents per share, from a year earlier. Excluding items such as gains on sales and acquisition-related items, profit rose 5.2 percent to 81 cents per share, a penny below estimates.
The company added 89,000 video subscribers, the most in any quarter in eight years. A year earlier it picked up about 6,000 new subscribers.
Cable and satellite-TV operators are battling streaming video services like Netflix Inc and Hulu for subscribers, as viewers are increasingly moving away from pay-TV toward online video offerings.
Comcast has been investing in improving customer service, enhancing features on its set-top boxes and rolled out smaller bundles in a bid to retain and add subscribers. Continued...