Comcast tops profit estimate as it adds broadband customers

Tali Arbel
Associated Press
A Comcast truck in Pittsburgh.

New York – Comcast Corp. continued to add internet customers while dropping video subscribers in the second quarter. The company’s profit slipped but a key earnings measure topped Wall Street expectations. Shares were flat in morning trading Thursday.

The Philadelphia-based cable company said Thursday that it added 209,000 broadband customers and lost 224,000 video ones as people continued “cutting the cord,” a yearslong industry trend. Revenue in its cable division rose thanks to the gain in internet customers. Comcast also raised prices.

The company is launching its own streaming service next year amid a flood of new competitors from Disney, Apple and AT&T as traditional TV customers shrink and ratings fall. It is pulling “The Office” from Netflix to support its own service.

In its NBCUniversal division, which includes the NBC broadcast network, cable networks like Bravo and MSNBC, theme parks and film studios, revenue slipped, pulled down by a 15% drop in its movie division. Last year’s quarter included the hit “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” which pumped up the box-office take.

Comcast also owns Sky, a European broadcaster, whose revenue fell 3.3%.

Overall, the company’s net income fell 2.8% to $3.13 billion, or 68 cents per share. Adjusted for one-time items, earnings were 78 cents per share, topping Wall Street expectations by 3 cents, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue rose 24% to $26.86 billion in the period, missing Wall Street’s forecast of $27.19 billion.

Comcast shares were flat in morning trading Thursday. They had increased 32% since the beginning of the year, while the S&P 500 index has risen 20%.