Comcast continued to chip away at basic video subscriber losses in the fourth quarter, shedding just 17,000 basic customers in the period, compared to a loss of 135,000 in the prior year, its best quarterly performance in about five years.
For the year the nation's largest MSO shed just 460,000 basic customers, nearly half the 757000 customers it lost in 2010. The Philadelphia-based MSO added 363,000 high-speed data customers in the period and 146,000 telephony customers.
"Last year was a very important year for our company," Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in the earnings release. "Cable continued to drive innovation, increase new product introductions and transform the customer experience, and we successfully integrated NBCUniversal. We also reported strong financial and operating results in both the fourth quarter and for the full year. Specifically, cable had another terrific quarter of improving customer metrics, demonstrating that our new XFINITY brand and our intensified focus on service and innovation are making a real difference."
Revenue at the cable operations were up 4.7% to $9.5 billion and operating cash flow increased 6.4% to $3.9 billion.
At its NBC Universal programming division, cable networks revenue increased 5.3% to $2.2 billion and adjusted operating cash flow rose 16.2% $930 million. At its broadcast networks, revenue declined 3.7% to $1.8 billion and Adjusted OCF was a negative $52 million for the period. Overall at NBCU revenue rose 1% to $5.7 billion and Adjusted OCF was down 3.9% to $1.1 billion.
As a result of the improved results, Comcast increased its annual dividend by 44% to 65 cents per share and committed to repurchasing about $3 billion of its shares in 2012, under a new $6.5 billion buyback authorization issued by its board of directors.