Discipline, smart investments to guide Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) in 2011

Following the cable industry trend, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) posted fourth quarter 2010 profits and sales that were up and basic video subscriber numbers that were down. Net income was up 6.6 percent, to $1.02 billion, and sales rose 7.2. percent to $9.72 billion in the quarter. On the other hand, the MSO continued to leak basic subscribers, with 135,000 cutting out during the quarter.

Comcast executives, while conceding the subscriber losses, appeared more focused on a brighter future driven to streaming services and commercial business because of "disciplined execution" and "pretty smart investments" in new technologies and services.

"We want to continue to get good products out the door on a frequent basis and a timely basis. It's going to be a lot of day-to-day block-and-tackle," Neil Smit, president of Comcast Cable said during an earnings conference call.

To get to those good products, the MSO will continue to be "aggressive in terms of making pretty smart investments, whether it's all-digital or DOCSIS 3.0 or VoD or Xfinity," said Michael Angelakis, Comcast CFO.

Xfinity's growth as a non-traditional video-high-speed-data play will probably consume most of the attention going forward, said Comcast Chairman-CEO Brian Roberts, comparing it to "the beginning of on-demand" which took a while to settle in but now lists more than 25,000 choices. "I think we're going to see the same things occur over time (with Xfinity's online focus). "Our innovation machine ... is getting better, more reliable and we had a very solid 2010."

For more:
- see this news release (PDF)

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