Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, posted an increase in its overall revenue during a first-quarter earnings call today, but basic video subscribers slipped by 57,000.
Faced with increasing competition from satellite and telco providers, particularly from the continued rollout of Verizon’s fiber-based FiOS service, Comcast lost the 57,000 basic video subscribers in the most-recent quarter after adding 83,000 in the same quarter a year ago.
Comcast’s profit rose to $588 million, or 19 cents per share, from $537 million, or 17 cents per share, a year ago. The company’s revenue increased 14 percent in the first quarter, to $8.4 billion; but net profit declined to $732 million, or 24 cents per share, from $837 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier.
“Our results for the first quarter mark a solid start to 2008,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. “We delivered healthy growth in revenues, operating cash flow, free cash flow, adjusted EPS and strong unit additions. Our performance demonstrates that our operating strategy is working in an economic and competitive environment that continues to be challenging.
“In addition, we invested $1 billion to repurchase nearly 2 percent of our shares outstanding in the first quarter of 2008, and on April 30, we made our first payment on our recently announced quarterly dividend to shareholders.”
Comcast added 494,000 digital video customers in the first quarter; 65 percent – or 16 million video subscribers – have digital service, compared with 55 percent, or 13.7 million, a year ago.
Comcast’s video revenue increased 5 percent, to $4.7 billion, in the first quarter of 2008, from $4.5 billion in 2007. Comcast said that the revenue increase reflects price increases for basic and digital video services, growth in digital video customers and increased demand for digital features, including video-on-demand (VOD), digital video recorders (DVRs) and high-definition television (HDTV). The company said the revenue increase was offset in part by an increasing number of customers in promotional offers.
Comcast added 492,000 high-speed Internet subscribers during the first quarter, while penetration reached 28 percent, or 14.1 million customers. Broadband revenue increased 12 percent, to $1.8 billion, in the first quarter, from $1.6 billion in the same quarter a year ago.
Comcast increased its digital phone subscribers by 639,000 during the first quarter, while penetration reached 12 percent, or 5.1 million customers. Phone revenue increased 65 percent, to $587 million, in the first quarter of 2008, from $356 million in 2007.
Reflecting the addition of 2.6 million digital phone subscribers in the past 12 months, revenue from digital phone service more than doubled, to $573 million, in the first quarter of 2008, compared with the same period of the prior year.
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