Comcast Posts Strong 1Q

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Comcast Corp. reported consolidated net income of $65 million in the first quarter of 2004, or $0.03 per share, compared with a consolidated net loss from continuing operations of $355 million ($0.16) in the year-ago period.

The company sold its 57% ownership interest in QVC Inc. in September, so QVC's results prior to its sale are presented as discontinued operations.

Consolidated revenue was $4.908 billion versus $4.466 billion in the first quarter of 2003. Consolidated operating cash flow rose to $1.733 billion from $1.428 billion in the prior-year period.

Comcast Cable Communications Inc. posted revenue of $4.647 billion for the quarter, a 9.8% jump from $4.231 billion in the first quarter of 2003.

The MSO said it added 35,000 basic subscribers and 192,000 digital-cable customers during the period.

Comcast said 176,000 subscribers signed up for its HDTV service, giving it a quarter-end total of 469,000 HDTV customers, up 60% from the fourth quarter of 2003.

As for high-speed data, the MSO added 394,000 customers to finish the first quarter with nearly 5.7 million, representing a penetration rate of 15.7%.

Comcast said it generated average revenue per subscriber of $42.46, up more than $1 from fourth-quarter-2003 levels.

“We continue to make each of our services even more compelling by adding new features and applications that provide more value to our customers,” CEO Brian Roberts said in a prepared statement.

“Our video service offers more choices than ever before, including digital cable, on-demand, high-definition programming and digital-video recorders,” he added. “Today, more than 11 million subscribers have access to Comcast On Demand, our video-on-demand service; nearly 19 million of our customers can access our HDTV service; and by the end of this year, digital-video recorders will be available across our entire footprint.”

Roberts continued, “Similarly, our high-speed Internet service is continually enhanced to offer features like streaming content that serve to further differentiate our broadband product.”

As for telephony, Roberts said, “We are enthusiastic about voice-over-Internet-protocol technology as we begin to deploy voice services in several of our markets. It provides another way to offer consumers more communications choices and features.”

He added, “These new services are possible because of our upgraded networks, which provide an unparalleled platform to deliver enhanced services to our customers and increasing value to our shareholders.”

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