Before we dig into the latest perceived threat, let's take a quick look at the results the company reported on Wednesday. Comcast's financial metrics included earnings of $1.02 billion, or $0.36 a share, versus $955 million, or $0.33 per share, in the year-ago quarter. The per-share number was $0.04 higher than the analysts' consensus forecast. Comcast booked $9.72 billion in revenue, up 7.2% from the year-ago quarter.
On the same day, Cablevision
But the key to the quarter from the cable companies' perspective was what we can glean from their subscriber additions and subtractions. Focusing on Comcast, there's been a gnashing of teeth in some quarters regarding the steady departures of basic cable customers. Pessimists suspect that customers are "cutting the cord" -- dropping cable in favor of receiving their video online from the likes of Netflix
The numbers simply don't support that contention. Sure, Comcast lost about 135,000 basic cable subscribers during the quarter. But its number of digital video customers -- who pay more for that service, with its higher number of features -- increased, as it has each quarter of late. Also, data and voice subscribers increased, helping the company add about 700,000 to its total of what the industry calls revenue generating units. As a result, its revenue per subscriber grew by nearly 11%.
At the same time, the telephone companies like Verizon
Indeed, as an erstwhile cable analyst, I believe that basic cable attrition is economic, rather than technical. Given our current economy, some folks simply have to trim spending, and cable is a logical place to start. On that basis, I'm still hawking Comcast, with its superb management team and the heightened array of content opportunities resulting from its new combination with NBCUniversal.