Comcast shrinks video subscriber losses down to 29K in Q4

Comcast slowed its video subscriber losses to 29,000 (19,000 residential and 10,000 business video customers) during the fourth quarter, a small improvement over the 33,000 it lost one year ago.

Factoring in the fourth quarter, Comcast lost a total of 370,000 video subscribers during 2018, more than double the 151,000 video subscribers it lost in 2017.

But thanks to strong broadband subscriber growth, the company increased its total customer relationships by 258,000 during Q4 and by more than one million for 2018.

“Highlighting a few of our accomplishments during the past year, Comcast Cable’s customer relationship growth accelerated, driven by our 13th consecutive year of over 1 million broadband net additions. 2018 Cable EBITDA growth was the highest in seven years, underscoring the financially attractive transition of our business to connectivity,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts in a statement.

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During the quarter, cable communications revenue rose 5.2% to $14.1 billion and adjusted EBITDA for the segment increased 7.3% to nearly $5.8 billion. Comcast attributed the growth to increases in high-speed internet, advertising, business services and other revenue, partially offset by a decrease in video revenue.

Cable networks revenue rose 8.9% to $2.9 billion and adjusted EBITDA for the segment rose 4.3% to $1 billion. Comcast gave the credit primarily to higher distribution and content licensing and other revenue. Broadcast television revenue rose 3.7% to $3.1 billion and adjusted EBITDA for the segment surged ahead 109.3% to $412 million. The company said results reflected increases in distribution and advertising revenue along with lower programming and production costs.

2018 results for NBCUniversal got a big boost from Super Bowl LII, the 2018 Olympics and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Comcast also offered up pro forma results for Sky, the European pay TV operator it recently acquired. Pro forma Q4 revenue for Sky rose 2.4% to $5 billion thanks to higher direct-to-consumer, content and advertising revenue. Adjusted EBITDA rose 8.9% to $765 million during the quarter.