Comcast Beats the Street


Comcast continued to surprise the Street in the second quarter, soundly beating analysts' consensus estimates for video losses at it cable division, while its programming unit managed to hold the line.
Comcast reported a loss of 176,000 video customers in the second quarter, well below last year's loss of 238,000 customers and soundly beating consensus estimates of a loss of 203,000 basic subscribers. High Speed data additions of 156,000 subscribers bested last year's 144,000 additions, while voice additions at 158,000 came in behind the 193,000 added in the prior year.
Revenue at the cable unit was up 6% to $9.9 billion and operating cash flow rose 5.5% to $4,1 billion.
At its NBC Universal programming unit, revenue was flat at $5.5 billion, fueled by a 3.6% increase in cable revenue that was offset by a 9.1% decline in broadcast television revenue and a 1.8% dip in sales at its filmed entertainment division. Operating cash flow at the programmer declined 15.4%, driven by a 6.8% decline in OCF at the cable channels and a steep drop in filmed entertainment - a negative $83 million in the period compared to positive OCF of $27 million in the prior year.
In a research note, Credit Suisse media analyst Stefan Anninger said the company turned in strong cable results while NBCU's performance was in line with estimates. While he was a bit disappointed with the cable networks results, he wrote they were likely due to higher than expected spending for programming.
Overall, revenue rose 6.1% to $15.2 billion and OCF increased 4.2% to $5 billion.
"Our solid operating and financial results for the second quarter underscore the strength of our cable company and our focus on driving operational excellence and technology innovations," Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. "...NBC Universal's second quarter performance came in as anticipated, and we continue to be very positive about our opportunities to build value across all the NBCUniversal businesses. Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal are also working well together to launch innovative products and experiences - and these efforts are being showcased now as we utilize all of our content and technology platforms to deliver the most comprehensive Olympics coverage ever."
Comcast is scheduled to hold a conference call with analysts to discuss the results at 8:30 a.m.