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Universal Studios and ‘Fate of the Furious’ Fueled Comcast Earnings

July 27, 2017, 3:58 PM UTC

Comcast on Thursday reported quarterly results that topped analysts’ estimates on higher revenue in its filmed entertainment and theme parks businesses, even as the No. 1 U.S. cable operator lost more video subscribers.

Comcast’s (CMCSA) shares rose 2% to $40.16 in early trading.

Comcast and other pay television operators are facing pressure as younger viewers drop bigger cable bundles for cheaper streaming options such as Netflix (NFLX) and the growing number of online “skinny bundles” of channels.

Comcast and cable operator Charter Communications (CHTR) are in talks with Sprint (S) about a partnership to boost the two U.S. cable companies’ wireless offerings, sources had told Reuters in June.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts dismissed speculation on Thursday that Comcast needed to buy or merge with another company.

“I think I’ve said, and I think we’ve said in multiple forms, that we really feel we are not missing anything,” Roberts said on the company’s analyst call Thursday morning.

Comcast has taken a number of steps to allow users of its X1 set top box to get access to a variety of content. Last year, Comcast made Netflix available through X1 and announced a similar deal with Alphabet’s (GOOGL) YouTube in February.

Still, Comcast lost 34,000 video subscribers in the quarter, compared with the 4,000 customers lost in the year-earlier period. Comcast also added 175,000 broadband subscribers, compared with additions of 220,000 a year ago.

The proliferation of “skinny bundles,” however, helps its NBCUniversal media unit’s bottom line because the company has very favorable terms for its content on those services, Roberts said, adding he was skeptical about the skinny-bundle business becoming profitable.

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Comcast introduced a wireless service in May in hopes of bundling more services together and increasing customer loyalty. The service, called Xfinity Mobile, launched on Verizon’s (VZ) airwaves as part of a 2011 agreement between the companies.

Early results indicate the mobile service is off to a strong start, though the company did not disclose subscriber numbers.

Net income attributable to Comcast rose 23.9% to $2.51 billion, or 52 cents a share, in the second quarter, from $2.03 billion, or 41 cents a share. Revenue was up 9.8% to $21.16 billion.

Analysts expected earnings of 48 cents per share on revenue of $20.85 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Filmed entertainment revenue rose 59.6% on the strength of movies such as The Fate of the Furious while theme parks revenue increased 15.6%.