Comcast Internet, Phone Growth Offsets Video Customer Decline

Feb 18, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable television company, said today that video subscribers declined slightly from a year ago, hinting that satellite companies such as DirecTV and fiber-optic services may be continuing to pull customers from cable providers.
Comcast said its overall revenue rose on a jump in Internet and telephone customers, while sales from its programming operations were little changed.
Comcast’s video subscribers fell 2.3% to 24.2 million. Comcast incurred about 40% of last year’s 575,000-customer decline during the fourth quarter.
Still, the company’s fourth-quarter revenue rose 9.4% to $8.77 billion as the company had 21.4 million phone and Internet customers combined as of the end of last year, up 19% from a year earlier. Comcast’s fourth-quarter earnings fell 32% to $421 million, or 14 cents a share, from $602 million, or 20 cents, a year earlier as the company took a $600 million writedown on its investment in wireless broadband service Clearwire. The company was expected to earn 22 cents a share on $8.64 billion, the average analyst estimate in a Thomson Financial survey.
Comcast’s fourth-quarter revenue from its programming division, which includes E! Entertainment, Style Network and Golf Channel, increased to $350 million from $348 million a year earlier.
Earlier this month, No. 2 U.S. cable company Time Warner Cable said its fourth-quarter video subscribers declined 1.4% from a year earlier to 13.1 million, while its customer base fell by 119,000 during the quarter. Last week, satellite-TV leader DirecTV said its fourth-quarter subscriber base expanded 4.7% to 17.6 million, with a jump of 301,000 customers in the quarter.
Last month, AT&T and Verizon Communications said they added almost 600,000 customers combined for their U-verse and FiOS television services during the fourth quarter.
No. 2 satellite company Dish Network reports earnings early next month.


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