Comcast misses Q4 forecasts, gains only 6K video subs

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) added 6,000 Xfinity TV video subscribers in the fourth quarter, missing analyst forecasts of around 25,000 video customer additions.

The Philadelphia conglomerate saw Q4 video sub additions slow from 46,000 in the same period in 2013. However, it finished 2014 by losing only 194,000 cable TV subscribers, a 27 percent improvement over 2013.

In an effort to trim video subscriber losses, Comcast embarked on an expensive, aggressive campaign in 2014 to upgrade its customer base to the cloud-based X1 platform. It finished the year with 22.4 million video subscribers. The company says it sees markedly increased VOD usage and reduced voluntary churn in homes equipped with X1.

Comcast also added 375,000 broadband subscribers in the fourth quarter--a narrow growth decline over Q4 2013. The MSO finished 2014 with nearly 22 million broadband subscribers, up nearly 1.3 million.

Overall revenue for Comcast's cable division increased 6.1 percent to $11.3 billion in the fourth quarter, with broadband services spiking 10 percent and business services up 20.8 percent.

Across the entire conglomerate, revenue rose 4.8 percent to $17.7 billion in Q4, with net income up 0.6 percent to $1.93 billion.

Wi-Fi: Speaking to investors, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was coy when asked about developing "mobile-first" products and services meant to exploit the company's 8.3 million Wi-Fi hotspots, noting the MSO is "still assessing the possibilities… We don't think this is the time where we chew open what our Wi-Fi plans are. "

He added, "We do believe in the asset, and we're looking for ways to bring it to market over the next several months."

Cable networks: As with most conglomerates, Comcast is facing declining ad sales and audience ratings across its NBCUniversal cable channels. Company execs say they'll have to get used to a business that has "single-digit growth as opposed to double-digit growth."

NBCU CEO Steve Burke struck an optimistic tone, noting that even though Comcast is losing viewership across digital platforms, the ability to account for those lost viewers will eventually improve. "Measurement and monetization are only going to get better," he said.

Title II regulation: Roberts maintained that it is "premature to speculate" on Title II-oriented regulation of the Internet that will be voted on Thursday by the FCC.

"We don't believe Title II is he right answer," he added. "But if it happens, we'll have to adjust to the specific details."

For more:
- visit this Comcast investor relations page
- read this Bloomberg story

Related links:
Comcast looking for execs to lead 'mobile-first' product development
Comcast rolls out apps, content for NASCAR fans as part of Xfinity Series sponsorship deal
Comcast partners with Boomtown to launch IoT lab