Comcast’s Cable Earnings Make Up for NBCU Losses

Reports 5 percent revenue increase

Comcast managed to compensate for a weak showing from NBC Universal with positive numbers cable business, allowing the company to post an increase in revenue for the quarter.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable operator, reported third-quarter net income of $908 million, or 33 cents a share, up from $867 million, or 31 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, revenue was up 5 percent to $14.3 billion.

While Comcast didn’t quite live up to Wall Street’s expectations — analysts expected the company to report earnings of 40 cents a share, according to Reuters — its strong cable results were a welcome relief after disappointing results from competitors Time Warner Cable and Cablevision last week, which blamed customer losses on the bad economy and poor housing market.

Although Comcast lost basic video customers — 165,000, as compared to a loss of 275,000 a year ago — it made up for that with a gain of 261,000 Internet subscribers. Overall, the company added 229,000 telephone, video and Internet customers in the quarter, while revenue for Comcast’s cable business increased by 5 percent.

NBC Universal, which Comcast acquired a majority stake in last year, was a major drain on the company. Although NBCU reported revenue for the quarter, investments in its media division proved costly. NBC posted an operating cash flow loss of $7 million, while Universal Pictures’ profit decreased by 17 percent.