Cox Communications ( COX) swung to a first-quarter profit Thursday as revenue surged 13% from a year ago. The Atlanta-based company said its success in selling broadband Internet access and other lucrative digital services resulted in operating income growth of 84% and operating cash flow growth of 18%. "We had another remarkable quarter, driven by continued demand for our bundle of video, voice and high-speed Internet services," said CEO Jim Robbins. For the first quarter ended March 31, the company posted a profit of $57.7 million, or 9 cents a share -- ahead of the Thomson First Call analysts' consensus of 5 cents a share, and reversing the year-ago loss of $29.2 million, or 5 cents a share. Revenue surged to $1.54 billion, and operating cash flow hit $567 million, better than the First Call forecasts of $1.53 billion in revenue and $554 million in operating cash flow. Cox, one of the nation's largest operators of cable TV systems, added 161,000 high-speed data customers in the quarter, bringing its broadband Internet customers to 2.1 million. Analysts surveyed by TheStreet.com had forecast no more than 140,000 additions in the quarter. Cox said it ended the quarter with 2.2 million digital cable customers, achieving 35% penetration of its basic video customer base. After adding 30,600 basic video customers in the quarter, Cox has 6.4 million basic customers, up 0.8% from a year ago. The company said services costs rose 10%, led by a 9% rise in programming costs. Other direct costs and field service costs rose 10%. On a conference call with analysts, Robbins noted that programming costs were coming under control thanks in part to Cox's new agreement with Disney's ( DIS) ESPN, which has been a major element of the cable operator's programming costs -- and against which Cox waged a very public campaign over the past few months. Over the life of the contract, ESPN costs will increase 7% annually, compared to previous increases of 20% per year, Robbins said.