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Cable Technology Feature Article

February 16, 2011

Comcast's Quarterly Results Exceed Expectations

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Comcast (News - Alert) Corp. saw earnings for the recent quarter come in higher than were anticipated – with the company getting increases in ad sales and more customers, according to media reports.

Reuters also reported that the number of new subscribers was larger than expected.

This happened in a quarter when Comcast put money toward the NBCUniversal joint venture. The deal was finished last month. Among the new assets for Comcast are: a broadcast network, cable networks, theme parks and a film studio.

In addition, advertising revenues increased during the fourth quarter of 2010, with 29 percent growth compared to the same period in the prior year, according to Zacks Equity Research.

Zacks also reported that Comcast Corp. saw “excellent fourth quarter 2010 financial results,” which surpassed the estimates. The company also increased the annual dividend rate by 19 percent to 45 cents a share, Zacks said.

Net income, using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), for the fourth quarter of 2010 was $1,018 million compared with $955 million in the prior year quarter.

Total revenue in the fourth quarter was $9,721 million, up 7.2 percent from the prior year.

During the quarter, Comcast added 292,000 high-speed Internet customers. That is an increase of 18 percent from the same period in the prior year. It also added 257,000 voice customers, up about 6 percent.

However, when it comes to basic cable, Comcast lost 135,000 customers. That is less of a loss than occurred in 2009, but is still an industry-wide issue, Reuters (News - Alert) reports.

In a related matter, the joint venture formed by Comcast and General Electric, NBCUniversal, LLC, is 51 percent owned by Comcast, 49 percent owned by GE, and managed by Comcast, the companies said in a press release.

In other recent news, TMCnet reports that in an apparent effort to boost business offerings, Comcast is acquiring New Global Telecom (News - Alert), a Golden, Colo.-based VoIP services provider. The acquisition was viewed as a “competitive swipe at telecom companies in an effort by a cable company to try to capture a piece of the SMB and enterprise business market,” said TMCnet’s Amy Tierney.

In October, Comcast purchased Cimco Communications, a Chicago market local exchange carrier, which has about 2,300 business customers, TMCnet said.

Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein