Mixed Q3 For Comcast

Cable Revenue Up 5.2%, But Video Losses Slightly Rise in Quarter

Basic video customer losses were up slightly at Comcast in the third quarter, as revenue and cash flow growth appeared in line for the nation’s largest MSO.

Comcast reported a loss of 129,000 basic video customers in the period, up from the 117,000 it lost in the prior year. Most analysts had expected losses of about 100,000. High-speed data additions were 297,000 in the period and phone customers increased by 169,000.

Revenue for the cable operations was up 5.2% and cash flow rose 6.2%. For the combined company, revenue was down 2.9% to  $16.2 billion and operating cash flow increased 6.4% to $5.3 billion. The revenue shortfall was due mainly to rough comparisons to the prior year, which included revenue from the Olympics. Excluding the Olympics, overall revenue in the third quarter would have increased about 5.2%.

At NBC Universal, revenue dipped 14.2% to $5.9 billion and OCF increased 9.6%, mainly because of tough comparisons to last year's Olympic Games. Excluding the $1.2 billion in revenue from the Olympics, revenue at the content giant would have increased 3.9% in the quarter.

"Our businesses generated strong revenue and cash flow growth and record free cash flow for the third quarter,” Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “Cable's results highlight the underlying strength of our residential and business services. We are driving innovation, expanding our service offerings, and bringing new and rich content to more platforms than ever before. NBCUniversal delivered solid performance in every one of its segments, with healthy growth in revenue and double-digit cash flow growth, adjusting for the results of the Olympics last year. Comcast NBC Universal has real momentum and many opportunities ahead."