Telecom giant Comcast Corporation reported a drop-off in cable customers during its recent quarterly earnings report.
The Philadelphia-based company said it lost nearly 121,000 cable customers during the January-March quarter. Despite that, Comcast said its cable communications revenue jumped 4.2%. Those cable results also included a 21.4% revenue jump from the company’s wireless division. This was the first quarter that wireless revenue was included in the cable communications sector.
However, to counterbalance the loss in home cable subscribers, the company said it added 375,000 internet customers during the same period. Revenue from its high-speed internet residential stream increased by 10.1%.
Those gains were nearly wiped out by losses from its NBCUniversal department, which reported a 12.5% decline in revenue during the quarter to $8.31 billion. Revenue from its European-based Sky division also experienced a dip to the tune of 5% in revenue.
NBCUniversal did get boosts from the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics, both broadcast on NBC this year. The broadcast division saw a 7% hike in revenue from movies.
Despite the decline in some areas, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the company started the year off stronger than expected.
“Comcast Cable had the best quarterly EBITDA growth in over a decade, while NBCUniversal again posted favorable results,” he said in a statement. “We also continued to strengthen our leadership position in valuable customer relationships and premium content.”
The drop-off in cable subscribers is not necessarily shocking to cable companies like Comcast. With Disney, AT&T and Apple jumping into the streaming media market to go along with longer-term players like Netflix and Hulu, Comcast’s decision to dedicate more energy to its wireless and broadband services makes sense.
In the first quarter, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon lost a combined 900,000 cable subscribers. If the trend holds, it will lead to more than 3.6 million subscribers gone by the end of 2019.
Comcast plans to jump into that arena in 2020 when it expects to launch its own NBCUniversal streaming service.
Shares of Comcast were trading at $43.35 as of midday Thursday, a 3.37% jump from its open after its reported quarterly profit topped analysts’ prediction. The company’s net income jumped 14%, or $3.48 billion. That translated to $0.76 per share. Analysts’ expectation was around $0.68 per share.