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Comcast Q4 earnings rise on Internet customers, NBCUniversal

Comcast Q4 earnings rise on Internet customers, NBCUniversal

Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable company, said Tuesday its fourth-quarter net income rose 0.6% to $1.93 billion as it gained more broadband Internet customers and higher revenues at its NBCUniversal subsidiary. Adjusted earnings per share of 77 cents matched analysts’ consensus estimates. The estimates ranged from 76 cents to 81 cents, as compiled by Zacks Investment Research. Comcast shares rose 1.3% to $58.96. Operating revenue rose 4.8% to $17.7 billion.635603117341580976-COMCAST

The Philadelphia-based media giant increased its dividend by 11.1% to $1 per share on an annualized basis. It declared a quarterly dividend of 25 cents a share. Its board of directors also authorized buying back stock up to $10 billion, up from $4.25 billion currently planned for 2015. Comcast, which is waiting for regulatory approval of its proposed $45 billion deal to buy Time Warner Cable, said its cable communications revenue rose 6.1% to $10.7 billion. Higher revenues for Internet and pay-TV businesses helped offset falling phone subscriptions.

Its total “customer relationships” increased by 178,000 to 27 million during the fourth quarter, including 6,000 new customers in pay-TV. But with consumers increasingly electing to stream movies and TV shows, broadband Internet remains the growth driver. It gained 1.8 million new Internet customers in 2014, while pay-TV customers fell by 194,000.

Revenue at NBCUniversal, which operates NBC, Telemundo, Universal Studios and Universal Pictures, rose 2.3% to $6.6 billion. The cable networks segment reported a 5.6% decline in advertising revenue but its distribution revenue rose 4.6%. Revenue for the broadcast television segment rose 4.8% to $2.3 billion as ad sales and retransmission consent fees were higher.

Revenue from the filmed entertainment segment fell 10.6% from a year ago to $1.3 billion. The company said the drop in the year-over-year comparison was due to “the strong performance” of Despicable Me 2 in the fourth quarter of 2013. Revenue from the theme parks segment rose 29.9% to $735 million as its parks saw more visitors and they spent more per person.