By Harvey Hoffman
Comcast continued adding internet customers in the fourth quarter, helping lift its net income 26%.
The Philly company owns NBCUniversal and European broadcaster Sky in addition to providing cable and internet service in the U.S., and it has focused on broadband to make up for cord-cutters, customers who ditch cable.
It added 442,000 internet customers in the fourth quarter, while losing 149,000 video customers. It lost 733,000 video customers in 2019, and expects to lose more in 2020 as it raises prices and more people shift to getting TV on the internet.
Although more than 80 million U.S. households still pay for cable TV, the move to video on the internet prompted Comcast to launch a streaming service, Peacock, later this year, into a market crowded with services from its rivals.
NBCUniversal revenue dropped 2.6% to $9.15 billion, hurt by the weak debut of Cats at the box office.
Overall profit came to $3.16 billion, or 68 cents a share, from $2.51 billion, or 55 cents per share, the year before. Excluding onetime costs, earnings were 79 cents a share, topping the average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research of 75 cents a share.