"Comcast Corp. beat analysts’ estimates with a 26% increase in fourth-quarter profit, but two NBCUniversal units continued to struggle: the NBC broadcast network and Universal Pictures," reports Meg James in the Los Angeles Times’ Company Town blog.
According to the article, "For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Philadelphia cable television giant posted net income of $1.29 billion, or 47 cents a share, compared to $1.02 billion, or 36 cents per share, for the year-earlier period. Revenue climbed 3% to $15 billion.
"Once again, the company’s core business of providing bundles of cable TV channels and high-speed Internet service bolstered its financial results. Comcast added 336,000 Internet customers during the quarter while losing 17,000 video subscribers, demonstrating that the cable company was doing a better job holding onto its customers than it did during the recession."
While the NBCUniversal cable networks continue to perform well, the article notes that "Broadcast TV revenue declined 3.7% to $1.8 billion — reflecting continued ratings problems at the NBC broadcast network. Filmed entertainment revenue dipped 1.8% to $1.3 billion, in part because of lower home entertainment sales. Theme parks revenue climbed 4% to $498 million."
Bloomberg’s story on the Comcast earnings adds: "Comcast also authorized a $6.5 billion stock buyback and increased its annual dividend 44 percent to 65 cents a share. The buyback is a sign the company is committed to give back to shareholders after Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-largest U.S. cable company, announced a $4 billion buyback plan last month, according to Vijay Jayant, an analyst at ISI Group in New York with a ‘buy’ rating on the stock."
“A return to positive video subscriber growth — unthinkable in consensus numbers as recently as six months ago — is now not only plausible, but arguably likely,” Craig Moffett, a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst in New York, told Bloomberg. “That’s a huge change,.” Moffett added.
Moffett has an “outperform” rating on the stock, the story notes.