Comcast Adds 24K Video Subs in Q1

Second Straight Quarter of Growth for Cable Giant

Building on the momentum of its strong fourth quarter gains, Comcast said it added 24,000 basic video subscribers in the first quarter, its second consecutive quarter of positive video customer growth.

The gains build on the 43,000 basic video additions the cable giant reported in the fourth quarter and reflect the strength of its X1 user interface – customer churn for X1 users is 20% to 30% less  than its non-X1 base-- lower rate increases and targeted promotions.

“The video numbers  were driven by more upgrades and fewer disconnect this quarter,” said Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit on the call. “We feel pretty good about the video results we are achieving right now.”

On a conference call with analysts, chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said Comcast is accelerating its X1 roll out – it is deploying between 15,000 and 20,000 X1 boxes per day – double the rate of just six months ago.

Financial results were also strong. On the cable side, revenue increased 5.3% to $10.2 billion and operating cash flow rose 4.3% to $4.2 billion. Overall, revenue increased 14% to $15.3 billion and OCF was up 10% to $5 billion, fueled mainly by gains associated with the Winter Olympics.

While video customers grew, so did perennial growth engines like high-speed data service (up by 383,000 customers in the period) and phone service (up by 142,000 customers). On the conference call, Comcast said that about 68% of its customers take at least two services and 36% take all three.

Comcast also has made strides in customer service – truck rolls were reduced by 500,000, or about 8%, in the period and the percentage of self-installs also rose – 47% of new connects were self-installs in the period, up from 38% last year.

Investor appeared pleased. Comcast shares rose almost 3% ($1.48 each) to $51.36 in early trading Tuesday.