Comcast Takes Some Hard Hits From Cord-Cutting and Recent Hurricanes

October 26, 2017, 12:39 PM UTC

Comcast reported quarterly profit that topped Wall Street estimates on Thursday as the No. 1 U.S. cable operator said it added broadband and home security customers even though it lost video subscribers.

Comcast has been facing pressure in its video business as more consumers cancel their cable packages, sometimes in favor of cheaper streaming options like Netflix (NFLX). AT&T (T), and Verizon Communications (VZ) have also reported video subscriber losses in the third quarter.

Net income attributable to Comcast rose 18.5% to $2.65 billion, or 55 cents a share, during the company’s third quarter ended Sept. 30, the company said on Thursday. Excluding items, earnings per share was 52 cents.

Revenue fell 1.6% to $20.98 billion from the year-earlier period, which included impacts from the 2016 Olympics. Analysts had expected earnings of 50 cents per share and revenue of $21.04 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

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Comcast (CMCSA) lost 125,000 video subscribers in the quarter. The company had said in September that it may lose up to 150,000 subscribers due to the impact from recent hurricanes and increased competitive activity in the pay-TV industry.

More options have entered the market that allow consumers to stream television over the Internet at a cheaper price than paying for cable. Such alternatives include Dish Network’s Sling service (DISH), Sony’s PlayStation Vue (SNE), and AT&T’s DirecTV Now.

But Comcast has maintained that it is well-positioned for changes in viewing habits thanks to its high-speed Internet business, which added 214,000 subscribers. The company has also expanded into home security and automation, which added 51,000 subscribers.

Overall, revenue in the cable business rose 5.1%, and NBCUniversal revenues rose 6%, excluding impact from the Olympics.

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