Helped by cost cuts and by growth in Internet and phone subscribers, Comcast on Wednesday reported a 22 percent jump in earnings for its third quarter.
The cable provider saw net income of $944 million, or 33 cents per share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $771 million (26 cents per share) in the year-ago quarter. Sales also rose, hitting $8.8 billion, up from $8.5 billion in 2008's third quarter, though revenue was slightly below analysts' estimates.
For the quarter, the number of TV subscribers dropped 2.7 percent to 23.7 million from 24.4 million a year ago. But the loss was more than offset by gains in Internet and voice, two services that Comcast has marketed heavily, especially as part of its Triple-Play service.
The number of Internet subscribers rose 6.4 percent to 15.6 million, while Comcast phone customers jumped 20 percent to 7.3 million. Overall, the company saw a quarterly increase in customers of 3.4 percent to 46.8 million. Subscriber growth helped boost third-quarter sales for the cable segment by 2.8 percent to $8.4 billion.
With a focus on trimming costs, capital expenses declined 6.1 percent to $1.2 billion, due in large part to lower spending at the company's cable divison.
"The strength and resilience of our businesses combined with our continued emphasis on expenses and prudent capital management helped us achieve healthy operating and financial results in the third quarter," Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Comcast revealed no new details over its intent to acquire a leading stake in GE-owned NBC Universal. Early last month, reports surfaced that the company wanted to buy a 51 percent chunk of NBCU, with GE owning the rest, to create a new joint venture. If it goes through, the deal could transform Comcast into a major media powerhouse, with control of NBC as well as variety of TV networks and cable stations.