Updated from 8:04 a.m. EDT
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Comcast (CMCSA) was falling Wednesday after the country's largest cable-TV operator reportws third-quarter sales that fell just short of analyst expectations as the company continued to lose pay-TV subscribers. Net income rose for an eighth-consecutive quarter, helped in part by a reduction in capital expenses.
Shares of the Philadelphia-based media company that also owns NBC and the Universal movie studio were dropping 1.3% to $47.11.
"This was a little bit of a mixed quarter -- revenue was a tad light," Wells Fargo media analyst Marci Ryvicker wrote in an investor note. Ryvicker rates Comcast "outperform."
Net income was $1.73 billion, or 65 cents a share, on sales of $16.2 billion. Analysts were expecting sales of $16.24 billion. Revenue comparisons for the same quarter a year ago were impacted by the summer Olympics in London, carried by NBC. Excluding the Olympics, sales rose 5.2%.
Earnings exceeded an average estimate of 60 cents a share despite losing 129,000 pay-TV subscribers. The decline comes amid beefed-up competition from AT&T (T) and the wider impact of alternatives such as Netflix (NFLX) and Hulu. Ryvicker, though, downplayed the importance of the drop in video customers.
"We don't worry too much on the slight y/y decline in video subs; a few thousand subs on a 21.6MM base is immaterial to us," she said.
NBCUniversal's sales were skewed by a comparison with the year-ago quarter that included the London Olympics. Excluding the summer games, the unit posted a 3.9% increase in sales. Operating cash flow jumped 22%. Broadcasting was bolstered by NBC's hit show "The Voice," generating 2.6% higher revenue to $1.64 billion.
On the film side, the movie Despicable Me 2 led 3.3% sales growth for the quarter to $1.4 billion, helping to offset a decrease in home entertainment revenue due to lower volume of new releases compared to the same period a year ago.
Cable revenue of $10.49 billion, though 5% higher than the same period a year ago, fell short of analyst expectations for $10.53 billion on lower than expected subscriber and advertising revenue.