Comcast Beats Q4 Estimates

Video subscriber losses decline, cable revenue rise 5.2%
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Comcast beat most analysts’ estimates for revenue and subscriber growth in the fourth quarter, reducing video customer losses in the period while high speed data growth continued to impress.

Comcast lost 29,000 video customers in Q4, an improvement over the loss of 33,000 in the prior year period. High speed data subscribers rose by 351,000, a slight improvement over the 350,000 gained in the prior year.

Revenue at the cable division rose 5.2% to $14.1 billion while operating cash flow rose 7.3% to $5.8 billion, its highest growth in seven years.

“2018 was a successful and pivotal year for Comcast,” chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “I’m pleased with the strong operational and financial results that we delivered across the company. ...We truly became a global company with our acquisition of Sky, and are excited about its future and the potential of our combined company in 2019 and beyond.”

Comcast completed its purchase of British satellite company Sky in October. Comcast, which reported pro forma results for the unit as if it were acquired on Jan. 1, 2017, said revenue was up 2.4% in the quarter to $5.02 billion while cash flow increased 12.4% to $765 million.

At NBC Universal, Q4 revenue was up 7.1% and cash flow increased 12.3%. 

In a research note, Evercore ISI media analyst Vijay Jayant said the results beat his expectations of a loss of 76,000 video customers and a gain of 350,000 high-speed data subscribers.

“We expect shares to trade up today on the strong operational results,” Jayant wrote. 

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