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Update: Comcast Revenue Jumps 9%

Updated from 11:06 a.m. EDT

Comcast (CMCSK), the country's third-biggest cable television operator, said Monday that on a pro forma basis its revenue rose 9% in the latest quarter and operating cash flow, which Wall Street uses to gauge cable companies' financial success, increased 12%.

The Philadelphia-based company said revenue, including the results of recently acquired companies, climbed 23% to $1.96 billion, up from $1.6 billion a year ago, while operating cash flow increased 31% to $605.7 million from $463.9 million.

At the same time, Comcast said third-quarter net income rose to $1.25 billion, or $1.29 a share, from $335 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier. The results include the performances of Jones Intercable, Lenfest Communications and Prime Communications, companies recently acquired by Comcast.

Comcast's net income includes a $1.05 billion gain associated with a distribution agreement with Excite@Home (ATHM).

Pro forma revenue from the cable division rose 7.9% to $1.08 billion from $998.8 million last year. Revenue from basic, digital cable services and Comcast@Home, its high-speed, cable-modem Internet service, was partially offset by a 12% drop in pay-per-view revenue because fewer events were presented this year.

Revamping its cable business to meet competition from satellite television providers, Comcast added more than 190,000 digital cable customers in the third quarter, bringing its total digital cable customer base to 1.13 million. Comcast said it expects to end the year with 1.35 million customers for digital cable, a service that offers higher-quality video and sound among other benefits.

During the latest quarter, Comcast also reeled in an additional 66,000 Comcast@Home customers, a 57% increase over the second quarter. The Comcast@Home service will be available in more than 600 retail stores by the end of the year, much better than Comcast initially anticipated.

Comcast added that in the first half of next year it would begin rolling out video-on-demand, which enables customers to order, watch, pause and resume programming at any time.

In both the digital cable and high-speed Internet areas, Comcast surpassed expectations, "successfully leveraging their cable infrastructure," said David Goldsmith, an analyst at Buckingham Research Group. Goldsmith rates the stock a buy.

Comcast finished down 81 cents, or 2%, at $38.50.

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