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Comcast Q3: Revenue Up, Basic Video Subs Down

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Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) beat estimates for revenues and earnings per share in Q3 but the largest U.S. cable operator missed on one count that is drawing more attention with each quarter: it lost 275,000 video subs, nearly 4 percent more than the previous quarter and the biggest drop since the recession began. The loss took the company below the 23 million sub mark, its lowest point in years; it ended Q3 at 22.9 million. Overall, Comcast has lost 622,000 video subs this year.

At the same time, Comcast has been able to increase the number of lucrative digital video subs. That’s significant for the advanced services Comcast is banking on for growth; the number of subs getting advanced video rose to half of digital subs. The pace of additions is slowing as deployment across existing customers nears completion; it’s near 85 percent now. The average revenue per video sub also continues to rise: $129.75 compared with $117.54 in the same quarter last year.

Comcast also netted an additional 249,000 high-speed data subs, taking it to 16.7 million. And it’s been able to steadily increase the number of revenue generating units despite the video drain. Detailed customer metrics are here.

Comcast Interactive Media showed strong advertising growth in Q3 but it’s hard to get any real sense of the performance since the results are folded in with corporate overhead and Comcast-Spectacor in the only segment to lose money. Revenue for Corporate/Other rose nearly 50 percent to $92 million, mostly due to an acquisition and revenue growth at Comcast-Specator but the losses were higher, up 13.5 percent to $118 million, due to $21 million in expenses for the pending NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) merger.

Revenue rose 7.3 percent to $9.5 billion. Excluding the NBC Universal deal, Comcast had an adjusted EPS of 32 cents per share, beating Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI) estimates of 30 cents per share.