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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 29, 2012

Comcast Blows Past Analysts' Expectations

By Tabitha Naylor, Contributing Writer

In the third quarter, chiefly due to the sale of wireless spectrum and its stake in the A&E TV channel, the nation's largest provider of cable TV and Internet services, Comcast (News - Alert) Corp., more than doubled its net income. Even though cable TV saw fewer cancelations than expected and the expensive-to-produce London Olympics broke even on NBC, the underlying results were strong.

In the three months through September from $908 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier, net income rose to $2.11 billion, or 78 cents per share. Excluding gains from the sale of spectrum to Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless for $2.3 billion and the sale of the 16 percent A&E TV stake to Disney (News - Alert) and Hearst for $3 billion, earnings came to 46 cents per share, matching the expectation of analysts polled by FactSet.

From the comparable one last year, that figure was up 39 percent. Blowing past the $16.07 billion expected by analysts, revenue grew 15 percent to $16.54 billion. To close at $37.56 Friday, Comcast's shares rose $1.20, or 3.3 percent. Earlier in the day, the shares hit an all-time high of $37.78.

The Philadelphia-based company lost 117,000 video subscribers in the quarter, leaving it with about 22 million. According to the company, due to better customer service and fewer in-person service calls, video subscriber losses have slowed for eight quarters in a row. An average decline of 123,000 was what the analysts were looking for.

Comcast is mainly losing subscribers to telecom and satellite TV providers. In the quarter of 317,000, Verizon and AT&T (News - Alert) already reported combined gains. Beating the 273,000 expected, Comcast added 287,000 Internet customers, giving it more than 19 million. It gained a net 123,000 voice customers, also beating the 116,000 gain expected. More video customers signed up for all three services and the revenue it made from every video customer grew nine percent to $150.73 a month.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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