It seems to me that cable industry leader Comcast (NYSE:CMCSA) deserves the old "A" for effort that we used to hear about at grading time. Despite increasing competition, revenue-generating units are still increasing, and, perhaps as importantly, CEO Brian Roberts and his team appear to be heeding the complaints coming their way about the company's share price.

For the December quarter, revenues were up 14% year over year. Comcast increased its earnings to $602 million, or $0.20 a share, compared with $390 million, or $0.13, in the prior year's quarter. But if you pull out the ever-present one-time items, the most recent quarters' results remain unchanged, while the 2006 per-share number edges up to $0.15, which still amounts to a 33% increase in the December 2007 quarter.

Stepping back and taking a full-year look at each of Comcast's services, the company added 2.5 million video subscribers during 2007, a 33% gain over the prior year. At the same time, high-speed data additions increased by 1.7 million, below the 1.9 million in 2006, but hardly chicken feed. And phone additions jumped by over 2.5 million subscribers, a 61% increase over the 1.6 million new folks added in 2006.

But beyond this, it's worth mentioning that in the midst of what I believe to be a wacky campaign by a couple of institutional holders to remove Roberts, the company has announced two key steps to benefit shareholders:

  • Beginning in April, the Comcast board has initiated a 6.25-cent quarterly dividend.
  • The $6.9 billion currently approved for share repurchases will be utilized by the end of 2009.

So, while the company continues to face the combination of a softening economy and competition from the likes of telephone companiesVerizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T), along with satellite TV providers DirectTV (NYSE:DTV) and DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH), management is hardly standing still. Indeed, much like Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), which reported a week ago, Comcast's results were surprisingly solid.

Today, Comcast's shares are trading back near the starting point of a two-year rise and fall. My inclination, given the positive changes at the company, along with the remaining competitive and economic factors it's faced with, is to watch it shares closely, and perhaps nibble just a little. But for heaven's sake, don't eat too much or too fast.

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