Comcast to add 35K video subs in Q1 on X1 deployments driving down churn, analyst says

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) should see lower churn in the first quarter thanks to increased deployments of its X1 set-top, leading Jefferies analysts to increase their net subscriber growth estimates for the quarter from 25,000 to 35,000.

"With Street estimates expected to move higher into earnings, we expect further debate whether Comcast can be positive for the full year (we are now +10k)," Jefferies analysts Mike McCormack, Scott Goldman and Marah Formanek wrote in a research note.

Jefferies' prediction for Comcast's first quarter aligns with Macquarie Research analyst Amy Yong's earlier projections of 32,000 net video adds, also based on aggressive promotion for the X1 platform.

Both first-quarter growth estimates would put Comcast well ahead of the 8,000 net losses the MSO posted in the year-ago quarter.

Jefferies also predicts that Comcast's cable margins will be down slightly to 40.5 percent, but that the company's cable revenue will be slightly up to 6.5 percent, thanks in part to planned pricing changes.

Comcast is coming off its best quarter in nine years. The MSO added 89,000 pay-TV subscribers in the fourth quarter.

Comcast is scheduled to announce its first-quarter earnings on April 27.

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