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Comcast adds more internet subscribers, beats profit forecasts

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By Reuters
Comcast adds more internet subscribers, beats profit forecasts
FILE PHOTO: The Comcast NBC logo is shown on a building in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo   -   Copyright  Mike Blake(Reuters)

By Akanksha Rana and Kenneth Li

(Reuters) – Comcast Corp’s <CMCSA.O> quarterly profit and revenue topped Wall Street estimates on Thursday as it attracted more customers to its high-speed internet connections, offsetting a drop in cable TV subscribers that was also less severe than expected.

The show of continued momentum in the third quarter comes after the media conglomerate beat Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox <FOXA.O> to buy satellite TV broadcaster Sky <SKYB.L> for $40 billion in a sealed-bid auction in September.

Executives are expected to take a victory lap and spend an extra half hour on Thursday morning to introduce Sky Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Darroch to Wall Street analysts on a conference call.

Revenue from high-speed internet rose 9.6 percent to $4.32 billion in the quarter as the company added 363,000 internet subscribers, beating an average estimate of 294,000, according to research firm FactSet. The company said it was the best performance for the division in ten years.

Comcast also said in October its fastest-speed gigabit internet service reached more homes than any other provider in the United States after it completed a rollout to nearly all of the 58 million homes and businesses it serves.

The biggest U.S. cable provider said it lost 106,000 video customers, down from the 125,000 customers it lost in the same quarter last year, as some TV viewers dropped pricey cable bills for cheaper streaming options like AT&T Inc’s <T.N> newly-launched WatchTV or Netflix.

Wall Street had expected a steeper decline of 152,000, according to FactSet. Revenue from its video segment fell nearly 3 percent to $5.59 billion.

Net income attributable to Comcast rose 9.2 percent to $2.89 billion, or 62 cents per share, from $2.64 billion, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 65 cents. Analysts were expecting the company to earn 61 cents per share, according to Refinitiv data.

Philadelphia-based Comcast’s revenue grew 5 percent to $22.14 billion, above the average estimate of $21.82 billion.

The company’s total capital expenditures were down about 2 percent to $2.38 billion.

Revenue from the company’s NBCUniversal segment rose 8.1 percent to $8.63 billion.

However, revenue from theme parks fell 1.4 percent to $1.53 billion due to weather-related disruptions.

(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)