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Comcast Cuts Video Losses

Comcast cut its video-subscriber losses in the second quarter compared with a year ago in the typically tough financial period, but also saw customer growth slow in other categories.

Comcast lost 69,000 video subs in the second quarter, significantly narrowing the 144,000 it lost in the year-ago quarter. Comcast, ending the period with 22.3 million video customers, said that marked the best Q2 result in nine years.

The top U.S. cable provider added 180,000 high-speed Internet customers, down from 203,000 adds a year earlier, giving it a total of 22.54 million. It also marks the first time Comcast broadband subs have eclipsed video subs. 

About 69% of residential customers receive speeds of 50Mbps or greater, the MSO said. 

Comcast also tacked on 49,000 digital voice customers, down from 137,000 added in Q2 2014. It ended Q2 2015 with 11.31 million voice subs.

Overall customer relationships increased by 31,000 in Q2, a 56,000 improvement from the second quarter of 2014, Comcast said, noting that total revenue per sub rose 4.5%.

Comcast said improved customer service have produced lower churn across all product categories.

On the video front, Comcast said it continues to accelerate  the rollout of its IP-capable X1 platform, noting that nearly one-third of its triple-play customers now have it. Comcast has also been selling X1 to double-play subs. X1 net adds accelerated and accounted for about 50% of connects, Comcast said. 

Consolidated revenue climbed 11.3%, to $18.7 billion, while consolidated operating cash flow rose 8%, to $6.3 billion. Comcast posted Q2 earnings of 84 cents per share, up 10.5% from the 76 cents reported in the year-ago quarter.

A bright spot,  once again, was business services, which saw revenues surge 20.4%, to $1.2 billion. Comcast estimates that it now has a penetration rate of 25% of small businesses in its footprint, and  less than 10% of mid-sized businesses, which are being primarily served by the MSO's fiber-fed Metro Ethernet platform. Comcast said business services has been the second-largest contributor to cable revenue growth for 17 of the last 18 quarters. 

Ad revenue dropped 0.9%, to $582 million. Excluding political ads, core advertising revenue increased 2.5%

Overall cable revenues climbed 6.3%, to $11.7 billion in Q2, with 69% of customers taking at at least two products, and 37% getting three. Video revenues grew 3.7%, to $5.4 billion, and high-speed Internet revenues rose 10.0%, to $3.1 billion. Voice revenues declined 2.1%, to $903 million. 

NBCUniversal revenues jumped 20.2%, to $7.2 billion in Q2, and operating cash flow rose 19.4%, to $1.7 billion, driven by solid results at the unit's Filmed Entertainment and Theme Parks divisions. 

More to come after the company's earnings call with analysts this morning.