Basic subscribers continued to fall during the third quarter at Comcast,
but strong financial growth -- revenue and cash flow rose about 7% each
-- offset any analyst concerns about sluggish customer metrics.
revenue for the period was up 7.3% to $9.5 billion and operating cash
flow rose 7.6% to $3.6 billion, the third consecutive quarter of
positive growth in those metrics. But basic subscribers, already
hammered by the economy and competition, fell below even analysts'
revised expectations, declining by 275,000 customers in the period. The
analysts' consensus estimate was for losses of about 189,000 video
customers in the period.
In a conference call with analysts, Comcast
cable president Neil Smit said that about 40% of the video losses were
from lower-end customers, particularly those who signed on to one-year
promotional deals during the digital transition in early 2009 and rolled
off those promotions in the second and third quarter. While not
releasing any details, Comcast said that video trends are improving
month to month and that is continuing into October.
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