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Comcast sees continued growth for cable business as earnings top expectations

Shares of Comcast Corp. were up 2% in premarket trading Thursday after the media giant posted better-than-expected earnings and revenue.

The company posted net income of $3.3 billion, or 71 cents a share, up from $2.1 billion, or 46 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 76 cents a share, up from 71 cents a year prior and ahead of the FactSet consensus, which called for 59 cents.

Comcast’s
CMCSA,
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revenue for the quarter rose to $27.2 billion from $26.6 billion, while analysts had been expecting $26.7 billion.

The company generated $15.8 billion in cable revenue, up from $14.9 billion a year prior. Comcast saw total customer relationships for the cable business grow by 380,000, which marked the company’s best first-quarter performance on record for that metric.

While still a small portion of the overall cable business, Comcast’s wireless revenue increased 50% in the quarter to $513 billion. The company had 3.1 million total wireless lines in the period, up from 2.3 million a year earlier.

Revenue for the NBCUniversal business fell to $7.0 billion from $7.7 billion, with the media segment posting 3.2% growth, while the studios segment saw revenue decline by 0.6% and the theme parks segment saw revenue drop 33%. The company also disclosed $1.0 billion in revenue eliminations for the period, compared with $492 million a year earlier, with the changes “primarily driven by the licensing of content by the Studios segment to Peacock in the Media segment.”

The company disclosed that its Peacock streaming service has reached 42 million sign-ups to date, up from the 33 million sign-ups that the company had when it last posted earnings on Jan. 28.

Comcast’s pay-TV business Sky increased revenue to $5.0 billion from $4.5 billion, marking a 10.6% increase. Excluding currency impacts, Sky’s revenue would have risen 2%, the company said in its release, “reflecting higher direct-to-consumer revenue, advertising revenue and content revenue.”

Sky added 221,000 customer relationships in the quarter, making for “the best first-quarter result in six years despite the lockdowns imposed throughout Europe,” Chief Executive Brian Roberts said in the release.

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