Comcast’s stock pops as earnings indicate some growth in internet subscribers

Comcast Corp.’s broadband woes marginally improved in the third quarter as the company added a few thousand net new internet subscribers amid what’s been a tough recent backdrop for growth.

The 10,000 net subscriber gains in its residential broadband business and 5,000 net gains in its business broadband business came after Comcast CMCSA,
+6.60%
posted a net of no new internet subscribers in aggregate during the second quarter.

Shares were up about 7% in premarket trading Thursday following the latest earnings report.

Cable companies saw solid broadband subscriber growth during the earlier stages of the pandemic as stay-home trends boosted the need for connectivity, but Comcast and Peer Charter Communications Inc. CHTR,
+4.98%
have struggled recently to show anything near that growth. Comcast in the past called out slower rates of customer moves, though its CEO also acknowledged the prior earnings call the “early growth” of fixed-wireless efforts launched by the major phone carriers.

Investors should find out more about the drivers of Comcast’s broadband performance on the upcoming earnings call Thursday morning.

Comcast posted an overall net loss for its third quarter of $4.6 billion, or $1.05 a share, whereas it posted net income of $4 billion, or 86 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. The loss was driven by $8.6 billion in impairment charges related to the company’s Sky pay-TV business. Those charges reflect “an increased discount rate and reduced estimated future cash flows as a result of macroeconomic conditions in Sky’s territories.”

On an adjusted basis, the company logged earnings per share of 96 cents, compared with 87 cents a year before, whereas analysts tracked by FactSet were modeling 90 cents.

Overall revenue declined to $29.8 billion from $30.3 billion but came in slightly above the FactSet consensus, which was for $29.6 billion. Comcast’s media revenue fell from year before as the prior period included benefits from the Olympics, while Sky revenue dropped as well.

Comcast added 333,000 wireless lines in the quarter.

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