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Comcast Q1 Profit Rises 3.6% as Video Subscribers Increase

Cable giant Comcast Corp. said first-quarter profit rose 3.6% as the company increased the number of subscribers to its video and high-speed Internet offerings and its large NBCUniversal entertainment unit notched increases in fees from affiliates.

The Philadelphia-based company, which is said to be considering the purchase of Dreamworks Animation, said net income in the period came to $2.13 billion, or 87 cents per share, compared with 81 cents a share, or $2.06 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Earnings came to 84 cents a share after excluding one-time gains.

Revenue rose 5.3% to $18.8 billion, the company said.

In a notable disclosure, the company said its video customers increased by 53,000, a development that moves counter to the notion that more consumers, particularly younger ones, are abandoning cable and satellite-based pay-TV in favor of subscription-video-on-demand services like Hulu, Amazon and Netflix. Comcast said the new-subscriber totals represented its best results for a first quarter in nine years,  and also said it added 438,000 high-speed Internet customers.

Revenue from the company’s cable operations rose 6.7% to $12.2 billion, the company said.

At NBCUniversal, revenue spiked at the unit’s theme parks owing to inclusion of results from Universal Studios Japan. The company bought out its partners in the venture last year. However, revenue from filmed-entertainment and broadcast operations fell, owing to comparisons with the year-earlier period which included revenue from a broadcast of a Super Bowl game and the release of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Overall, revenue at NBCUniversal rose 3.9% to $6.9 billion in the period.

The subject of the possible DWA acquisition will undoubtedly be raised later this morning during the company’s conference call with Wall Street analysts.

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