Comcast results beat on lower-than-expected video losses

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(Reuters) - Top U.S. cable services provider Comcast Corp reported quarterly revenue and profit above analysts' estimates on Wednesday, as it lost fewer video subscribers than expected and grew its broadcast television and theme parks businesses.

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Shares of the Philadelphia-based company, which also said it would raise its dividend by 10 percent, were up nearly 3 percent before the opening bell.

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Revenue jumped 26.1 percent to $27.85 billion in the fourth quarter. On an adjusted basis, revenue was $28.28 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $27.55 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Excluding items, the company earned 64 cents per share, above the average estimate of 62 cents per share.

Net income attributable to the company fell to $2.51 billion, or 55 cents per share, from $15.00 billion, or $3.17 per share, a year earlier, when it recorded a $12.7 billion one-time benefit from the U.S. tax overhaul.

The company said it lost 29,000 video customers in the quarter, smaller than the 33,000 last year and also fewer than the 62,000 loss estimated by analysts, according to research firm FactSet.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
CMCSACOMCAST CORP.43.54+0.35+0.81%
NFLXNETFLIX INC.354.45-4.86-1.35%
FOXAn.a.37.32+0.81+2.22%
VZVERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC.58.09+0.71+1.24%

In its first quarter since purchasing Sky late last year, Comcast reported "customer relationships" net additions slowing by 20 percent to 164,000 in the fourth quarter, but a 34.1 percent acceleration for the full year.

Revenue from the video segment fell 1.6 percent to $5.58 billion, as U.S. subscribers continue to dump pricier pay-TV services, known in industry parlance as "cord cutting", in favor of cheaper streaming services such as Netflix Inc.

NBCUniversal, which will launch a streaming service in early 2020, reported a 7.1 percent rise in revenue to $9.40 billion.

Filmed entertainment revenue rose 14 percent, boosted by movies including "The Grinch", while theme parks revenue increased 3.6 percent to $1.51 billion. Revenue from broadcast television rose nearly 4 percent $3.10 billion.

Revenue from Comcast's high-speed internet business increased 10.1 percent to $4.40 billion as the company added 351,000 net subscribers, up from 350,000 a year earlier, but lower than the average estimate of 356,000.

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Comcast, which beat Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox in an auction for Sky, said revenue reported from the British pay TV group was $4.59 billion. On an adjusted basis, revenue reported was $5.02 billion.

The Xfinity Mobile business, which operates off of Verizon Communications Inc's network, added 227,000 net phone lines during the quarter, up from 187,000 a year earlier.

Capital expenditures rose nearly 17 percent to $3.17 billion.

(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Kenneth Li in New York; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Maju Samuel)