'Battleship' dud hits Comcast earnings in 2Q

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 01, 2012 14:30 hrs

"Battleship" failed to sink Comcast's second-quarter earnings as strong results from cable operations overcame weak returns from the box-office flop.

The Philadelphia-based cable company, the country's largest, on Wednesday reported net income of $1.35 billion, or 50 cents per share, for the April-to-June period. That was up 32 percent from $1.02 billion, or 37 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of 48 cents per share for the latest quarter.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $15.2 billion from $14.3 billion a year ago and matched analyst expectations. Some of the increase was due to Comcast buying out another investor in the Universal Orlando theme parks last July. Excluding that effect, revenue rose 3.5 percent.

In cable, average monthly fees were up 8 percent from last year to $148.57, helped by customers upgrading to faster broadband speeds and getting more premium channels. Overall, cable revenue grew 6 percent, demonstrating that Comcast continues to do better than smaller cable companies.

The company still lost 176,000 video subscribers in the quarter, the continuation of a long-running trend, as subscribers move over to satellite and phone-company services. But the rate of decline has slowed at Comcast, and executives suggested six months ago that they might actually add subscribers at some point this year. That was unlikely to happen in the second quarter, when college students cancel service for the summer.

At NBCUniversal, profits fell at the cable networks, which include Bravo, MSNBC and CNBC, and Universal Studios lost money on its would-be summer blockbuster, the expensive and critically skewered "Battleship."

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