Earnings Wednesday — Comcast Up 5%, Plus Sony, Time Warner, News Corp., AOL

Reports 51 percent increase in revenue due largely to NBCUniversal acquisition

Comcast Corp. reported a 51 percent increase in revenue and 5 percent increase in profits in its third quarter earnings Wednesday.

The nation's biggest cable company lost 165,000 cable subscribers, down from 275,000 in the same quarter in 2010. It gained 261,000 high-speed internet customers, up from 249,000.

The revenue increase was largely because of the company's acquisition of NBCUniversal at the start of the year. Had Comcast owned NBCU last year, its revenue would have been up 4.9 percent for the third quarter, the company said. The 4.9 percent figure also factored out NBCUniversal in July completing the acquisition of a 50 percent interest in Universal Orlando that it did not previously own.

The Philadelphia-based company reported net income of $908 million, or 33 cents per share, compared to $867 million, or 31 cents per share, for the same quarter the year before.

Analysts had expected 39 cents per share, but Comcast blamed unusual investment losses for not hitting that number.

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Shares in Comcast stock were trading at $23.64, up 2.85 percent, as the market opened Wednesday.

NBCUniversal revenue increased 4.6 percent to $5.2 billion, driven by cable revenue that rose 12 percent, to $2.1 billion. Advertising revenue at cable networks grew 9.5 percent to $803 million, while advertising revenue was flat at NBC.

NBC revenue increased 2.9 percent to $1.5 billion, reflecting higher content licensing revenue, struggling ratings at NBC, and less political advertising at NBC owned local stations, Comcast said.

Broadcast television had an operating cash flow loss of $7 million compared to operating cash flow of $70 million in the third quarter of 2010. The loss reflected increased investment in primetime — including the canceled fall show "The Playboy Club" — as well as more spending on news and local stations.

It also reflected $24 million in accounting revisions related to Comcast's acquisition of NBCU earlier this year. Excluding the accounting revisions, the third quarter 2011 broadcast television operating cash flow was $17 million.

Film revenue decreased 7.8 percent to $1.1 billion, driven by lower box office that was partly offset by higher home entertainment revenue from "Bridesmaids" and the international release of "Fast Five." Operating cash flow decreased 16.9 percent to $54 million, reflecting lower revenue that was partially offset by acquisition-related accounting adjustments totaling $36 million. Excluding the adjustments, operating cash flow was $18 million.

Theme parks revenue increased 9.1 percent to $580 million, reflecting strong performances at the Hollywood and Orlando Universal Studios parks. Operating cash flow increased 12.6 percent to $285 million, driven by "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" in Orlando and "King Kong" in Hollywood.