Despite struggles from its NBC Universal arm and basic video subscriber losses, cable giant Comcast (CMCSA) managed to grow its third-quarter profits by 4% amid stronger-than-expected revenue growth.
The Philadelphia-based company said it earned $908 million, or 33 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $867 million, or 31 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been calling for EPS of 40 cents.
Revenue climbed 5% to $14.3 billion, narrowly topping the Street’s view of $14.25 billion.
“I am pleased to report strong performance across key financial, operational and product areas. Cable had an outstanding quarter, led by continuing strength in high-speed Internet and business services,” CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.
Comcast, which is the largest U.S. cable operator, said it lost 165,000 basic video customers last quarter, down from a deeper loss of 275,000 customers a year earlier. On the other hand, Internet subscribers grew by 261,000.
NBCU posted a 4.6% increase in revenue to $5.2 billion. Cable networks revenue jumped 12% to $2.1 billion, while broadcast television revenue was up 2.9% to $1.51 billion. Theme park revenue increased 9.1% to $580 million.
However, broadcast television posted negative operating cash flow of $7 million and filmed entertainment suffered a 17% tumble in operating cash flow to $66 million.
This division, which Comcast acquired majority control of from General Electric (GE), includes the NBC network, CNBC, Telemundo, Universal Pictures and Universal theme parks.
“NBCUniversal’s results underscore the strength of our core cable networks business, as well as terrific momentum at the theme parks,” Roberts said.
Shares of Comcast advanced 2.26% to $23.50 ahead of Wednesday’s opening bell, putting them on track to add to their 2011 gain of about 4.5%.