Comcast reported an 8.2 percent drop in its third quarter earnings on Wednesday -- with an expected summer slowdown in subscribers and costs associated with its mega-merger with NBC Universal dragging down profits.
Overall, Comcast reported profits of $867 million, or 31 cents a share, down from $944 million, or 33 cents a share, over 2009. These results include a 1-cent per share charge from costs related to the NBCU transaction. Excluding the charge, though, Comcast would have beaten analysts’ expectations.
Comcast’s revenue jumped 7.3 percent to $9.49 billion during the quarter. Revenue from its cable operations increased 6.9 percent (to $8.98 billion) and programming revenue ($416 million) saw a 9 percent bump. Local advertising revenue rose 27 percent (to $461 million) on the strength of pre-election political advertising.
Comcast saw nearly a 50 percent drop in subscriber growth, but its average monthly revenue per video customer ticked up to $129.75 (up from $117.54) because of higher-spending, “premium” customers.
During a conference call with investors, chief operating officer and soon-to-be NBCU head Steve Burke touted the merger as fuel for Comcast’s part in the “TV Everywhere” initiative being pursued by major cable and content distributors, including Time Warner.