Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) held the line in the first quarter of 2015, reporting a 2.6 percent revenue increase year over year to $17.85 billion despite the roller-coaster ride surrounding its failed merger with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC). But its subscriber numbers tell a tale of the cord-cutting tape, as the cable operator added 407,000 high-speed Internet customers but watched its video subscribers continue to decline.
Comcast's cable revenue and growth rate stayed steady at 6%. (Source: Comcast investor presentation)
Earnings per share climbed 14.1 percent compared to the same period in 2014, to 81 cents. Comcast reported a free cash flow of $3.18 billion.
Overall subscribers increased 61 percent year over year to 27.2 million, with Comcast adding 199,000 subs in Q1. The operator said that 69 percent of its cable subs take either double or triple play, a 1 percent increase over Q1 2014. Comcast added 407,000 high speed Internet customers, calling it the best result of the past two years; Internet subs now total 22.37 million. Video subs declined by 8,000, to 22.38 million. Comcast added just 77,000 voice customers, bringing that total up to 11.3 million.
Comcast Cable's $11.43 billion revenue beat analyst estimates of $11.32 billion.
NBCUniversal revenue declined 4 percent year over year to $6.6 billion.
NBCU's operating cash flow remained positive, increasing from $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion year over year, bolstered by revenue from its broadcast television and theme parks units. This despite broadcast television revenue decreasing 14.2 percent to $2.2 billion.
And the scuttled Time Warner Cable deal? Comcast clearly prefers to move forward, away from all the sturm und drang.
"Of course we're disappointed, but it was a unique, one-off situation. … Really, we've moved on," said Chairman-CEO Brian Roberts in a conference call with investors and analysts early Monday. "The announcements we'll make at the (INTX) convention around service, around organic growth, those are the priorities."
Notably, Comcast stayed mum on details around some of the areas it's exploring. The company is still working on its wireless strategy, according to EVP and Comcast Cable President Neil Smit on the analyst call, who added that its Wi-Fi offering is a "strong and powerful asset" that the company plans to leverage.
And on those rumors swirling around a possible virtual MSO component to Comcast's offerings? Roberts wouldn't comment, noting only that the ecosystem is constantly evolving. "Getting X1 rolled out is still the best opportunity for the company in the short run," he said.
Jefferies rated Comcast a "buy" based on its results, with a price target of $67. Shares of Comcast bounced upward at Monday's open to $60.05, and dipped to $58.75 by midday.
- see the earnings release
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