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Comcast Beats on Earnings but Falls Short on Broadband Internet Sign-Ups

Comcast posts fourth-quarter earnings that beat forecasts as growth at its theme parks and studio businesses offsets a lull in new broadband internet customers.

Comcast on Thursday reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts' forecasts as growth at its NBCUniversal theme parks and within its studio business offset a lull in new broadband internet customers.

Philadelphia-based Comcast, which owns and operates Xfinity-branded broadband and cable service. as well as the NBCUniversal media empire and the U.K.’s Sky TV business, reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $3.5 billion, or 77 cents a share, vs. adjusted earnings of $3.3 billion, or 56 cents a share a year earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of 73 cents a share.

Revenue came in at $30.34 billion, up from $27.7 billion a year ago and above analysts’ estimates of $29.6 billion. Adjusted earnings before income, taxes, depreciation and amortization increased 17% to $8.4 billion.

Broadband growth did help propel earnings to a degree, even as the net new number of high-speed internet customers slowed, with the company's total cable operations revenue rising 4.5% to $16.4 billion. 

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Comcast said it added 212,000 new broadband subscribers and 17,000 business customers during the quarter, as it lost 373,000 traditional video consumers and 176,000 voice customers.

NBCUniversal growth also contributed to Comcast's fourth-quarter bottom line, with studios adding $2.42 billion in revenue during the quarter, an increase of 36.4%. Studio revenue specifically jumped 36.4% to $2.421 billion on the success of the fourth-quarter releases of Universal’s “Halloween Kills” and Illuminations’ “Sing 2.”

Revenue at the company's theme parks including Universal Orlando and the Universal Beijing resort jumped a not-so-surprising 191.3% to $1.89 billion after being shuttered or operating below capacity through much of 2021.

Separately, Comcast said it hiked its dividend by 8% and plans to add $10 billion to tis stock buyback program.

At last check, shares of Comcast were down 0.91% at $48.02 in premarket trading.