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Comcast Q1 Profit Rises, Co. Will Focus on X1

Media giant Comcast said net income in its fiscal first quarter grew 10% owing to more consumers buying high-speed Internet and business services, even as revenue fell at the company’s large NBCUniversal unit due to comparisons with the same period last year, when the company broadcast the highly watched Sochi Olympics.

The Philadelphia company reported net income of $2.06 billion, or 81 cents a share, compared with $1.87 billion, or 71 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Profit came to 79 cents per share after the exclusion of one-time items related to investments and acquisitions.

The company said revenue rose 2.6% to $17.9 billion in the first quarter, despite tough comparisons with the year-earlier period, when NBCUniversal broadcast the highly rated Sochi Olympics on its broadcast and cable networks. Excluding $376 million of revenue generated by a broadcast of the Super Bowl in the first quarter of 2015 and $1.1 billion of revenue generated by the Sochi Olympics in the first quarter of 2014, revenue rose 7.2%.

Comcast recently broke off efforts to buy Time Warner Cable, after concluding the proposed mega-merger faced strong opposition by regulators. The company said Monday it would reserve $6.75 billion for 2015 for stock buybacks, more than the $4.25 billion it had previously earmarked for the year.

In a conference call with investors, Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts (pictured, above) said the company intended to focus on getting its X1 interactive operating system into more homes.

The company’s strongest performance was found in its cable operations. Revenue rose 6.3% to $11.4 billion, compared with  $10.8 billion in the year-earlier period, owing to increases of 10.7% in high-speed Internet and 21.4% in business services. Comcast said more customers opted to take higher levels of service and additional services, but noted that it added 8,000 fewer video-only customers in the first quarter than it did in the same period in 2014.

Revenue slipped 4.0% to $6.6 billion at NBCUniversal, compared with $6.9 billion in the year-earlier period. Excluding results from the broadcast of the Sochi Olympics and the Super Bowl, revenue would have risen 7.9%, Comcast said. Revenue from cable networks fell 5.9% to $2.4 billion, compared with $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014. Revenue from broadcast TV fell 14.2% to $2.2 billion, compared with $2.6 billion in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose at the unit’s theme parks and theatrical operations.




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