Comcast beats forecasts due to high-speed internet business
Netflix effect hits home in US as cable TV customer numbers continue to decline
Comcast also reported financial results for Sky for the first time since acquiring the UK pay-TV company last year. Sky reported adjusted earnings of $765m on $5 billion in sales.
Comcast offset its declining pay-TV business by adding high-speed internet customers, helping the US cable giant beat forecasts for profits and revenues for the fourth quarter.
Comcast has been investing in its high-speed internet product, where it has added millions of new customers in the past few years. The company added another 351,000 high-speed internet customers in the fourth quarter – about the same pace as a year ago, and 1.35 million for all of 2018.
Excluding the impact of a one-time tax benefit that had lifted results in the year-ago quarter, Comcast made adjusted earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $27.8 billion (€24.5 million) in the fourth quarter. Wall Street analysts were looking for 62 cents a share on $27.6 billion in sales.
The Philadelphia-based company lost another 29,000 video customers in the three months ending in December. For the full year, Comcast bled 370,000 cable TV subscribers, an acceleration from 2017, when it had lost 151,000.
In the US, Comcast and its peers have been pressured by the disruption from Netflix. Research group eMarketer expects 33 million Americans will this year “cut the cord” on their traditional TV service in favour of streaming, accelerating from 27 million last year.
Shares in Comcast were up more than 3 per cent in premarket trading.
The Universal film studio weighed on results for Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit. Adjusted earnings at Universal dropped 24 per cent to $179 million, which Comcast said reflected higher operating costs. However profits at NBCU as a whole climbed more than 12 per cent to $2.1 billion in the quarter, helped by strength in broadcast television.
Comcast also reported financial results for Sky for the first time since acquiring the UK pay-TV company last year. Sky reported adjusted earnings of $765 million on $5 billion in sales. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019