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Comcast Makes Its Case

Less than two weeks after it terminated its 14-month journey to acquire Time Warner Cable, Comcast reported strong first quarter results, with consolidated revenue up 2.6% and operating cash flow increasing by 7.6%, led by strong results at its cable operations.

Cable revenue rose 6.3% in the quarter to $11.4 billion, and operating cash flow increased 6.2% to $4.7 billion, fueled by an increase of 407,000 high-speed Internet customers.

At its NBC Universal unit, which includes cable networks, broadcast television, filmed entertainment and theme parks, revenue declined 4% to $6.6 billion, mainly due to tough comparisons from the prior year. Excluding the impact of the Sochi Olympics and the Super Bowl, revenue would have risen about 7.9%. Cable networks sales were down 5.9% to $2.4 billion and broadcast television down 14.2% to $2.24 billion in the first quarter. Operating cash flow increased 14% to $1.49 billion, on strong performance from broadcast ($182 million, up 48.9%) and theme parks ($263 million, up 54.6%). Cable networks OCF was relatively flat at $898 million for the period.    

"We are off to a great start in 2015, with 7.6% operating cash flow growth and record quarterly free cash flow,” said chairman and CEO Brian Roberts in a statement. “Cable had a terrific quarter, once again reflecting strong results in high-speed Internet and business services. We have made progress in transforming the customer experience while delivering improved products and innovations faster than ever before. At NBCUniversal, we had another excellent quarter, led by Super Bowl XLIX, which was the most-watched television program of all time, along with the tremendous box office success of Fifty Shades of Grey, and the exceptional performance of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley in Orlando. We begin 2015 with great momentum and remain confident that we are well positioned with an impressive portfolio of complementary businesses to continue our strong performance and drive shareholder value."

Comcast is scheduled to hold a conference call with analysts at 7:30 a.m. today.