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Broadband Drives Comcast Q3

Residential video subscriber losses doubled in the third quarter for Comcast, but high speed data customers rose at a record pace, driving profits for the period higher.

Comcast lost 238,000 video customers in Q3, more than twice the 106,000 video customers it shed in the same period last year. High-speed internet customers increased by 379,000 in the quarter -- its best Q3 in ten years -- outpacing the 363,000 additions last year.

Video losses, once the bane of cable operators, are now considered to be a nuisance at best, as higher-profit broadband service continues to drive the business. Even Wall Street analysts, once concerned with video share loss to over the top competitors, are taking video declines in stride. 

Related: Moffett: Video Just Doesn’t Matter 

That was more than evident at Comcast’s cable unit, which despite the increased video subscriber losses grew revenue by 4% to $14.6 billion and cash flow by 6.7% to $5.8 billion in the period. At its NBCUniversal division, revenue fell 3.5% to $8.3 billion and cash flow increased 1.6% to $2.1 billion, reflecting lower broadcast sales and cable network licensing revenue, offset partially by an increase in distribution revenue.

Overall, Comcast reported consolidated revenue of $26.8 billion, up 21.2% and cash flow of $8.6 billion, an increase of 17% and driven largely by increases at its Sky satellite unit in the U.K.

“We continued our long track record of highly-profitable growth, while also investing in our businesses to further strengthen our leading competitive position,” chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a press release. “Cable had its highest third quarter broadband net additions in 10 years, which drove its best quarterly net additions in total customer relationships on record; NBC ranked #1 in primetime for the sixth consecutive 52-week season; and Sky’s channels had a 10% increase in household viewership. These and our many other accomplishments during the quarter underscore our strategic focus on innovation and providing our customers with superior products, services and experiences. Together, with our leading scale in high-value customer relationships and premium content, we are strategically positioned to thrive in our evolving global industry."