Cable operator Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) announced Q1 revenue of $8.38 billion, a 14 percent year-over-year increase from $7.38 million. Adjusted net income, which excludes certain gains from the dissolution of cable partnerships, was up 10 percent to $588 million ($.19 per share) from $537 million ($.17 per share). This income figure was basically right in line with expectations, and the revenue was actually a bit ahead. Some highlights:
— Video revenue rose by about 4.7 percent to $4.7 billion, with basic subs declining while digital subs continued to grow.
— Internet revenue was up by 11 percent, solid, but a deceleration from 14 percent last quarter.
— Outlook: For the year, the company is sticking by the forecast made last quarter of minimum 20 percent free cash flow growth for 2008. The top-line estimate of 8 to 10 percent remains the same as well.
Conference call: A couple quarters ago, Comcast spooked investors by warning about the economy and rising competition from telcos invading the TV space. But the message of this quarter, as well as the last one, is that the ‘levers’ it pulled are working. Said CEO Steve Burke: “This operating strategy is working.” Initiatives have included offering more economy packages, and de-bundling the triple play, so that cost-conscious customers can just by one service more easily. This concept has a side benefit: “Two out of three callers take our flagship service when they call about our economy service.” Meanwhile, other negative indicators seem to have stabilized: ‘our contact rate (when a customer calls with a complaint of some sort) is starting to come down… and then churn, on a sequential basis, is down for all of our products.”
— Day & date VOD: Comcast is encouraged by Warner’s adoption of day & date digital delivery, and the company believes that more studios will adopt this once they see the revenue boost that arise. It claims to have done its own research showing this.