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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 07, 2009

Comcast Weathers Internet Biz Challenges, Posts 53 Rise in Profits

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

Despite a down economy and increased competition that has hurt its cable TV and Internet businesses, the largest cable operator in the United States this week posted a 53 percent rise in profits for the three-month period that ended June 30.
Officials at Comcast Corporation say revenue for the second quarter increased 4.5 percent year-over-year, from $8.6 billion to $8.9 billion.
According to Brian L. Roberts, the company’s chairman and CEO, the results demonstrate the strength of Comcast’s (News - Alert) subscription businesses and continued focus on expense and capital management.
“At the same time, we are innovating and investing in our products and services and executing on our strategic initiatives, including going ‘All-Digital,’ deploying wideband and launching a wireless service and On Demand Online,” Roberts said. “We believe these initiatives and our focus on delivering a superior customer experience strengthen our competitive position and build long-term value for shareholders.”
Those shareholders will be pleased to know that the company destroyed Wall Street expectations of earnings per share of 26 cents with a 33 cents return. That also compares favorably to the year-ago quarter, when earnings per share came in at 21 cents – a 57 percent rise.
Not all the news was positive, however. Comcast leads the United States in providing residential Internet services, yet the company added just 64,844 new Internet customers during the second quarter, compared with about 325,000 new ones the prior quarter.
The company also lost 213,773 cable TV customers in the second quarter, but gained 233,353 phone customers – a reflection of the emerging strength of IPTV and services such as Hulu (News - Alert).
The company appears to be leveraging its wide cable subscriber base by raising fees.
“The monthly average total revenue per video customer increased 7.4 percent from $109.61 in the second quarter of 2008 to $117.74, reflecting an increasing number of customers taking multiple products and a higher contribution from Comcast Business Services,” company officials said.
Interestingly, of all of Comcast customer segments, voice performed the best, as the company’s base grew nearly 24 percent – compared to 7.4 percent for digital video customers and 6.7 percent for high-speed Internet customers.

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan