Comcast profit tops estimates on video subscribers, film success

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By Anjali Athavaley | NEW YORK

NEW YORK Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) quarterly profit topped estimates as the No. 1 U.S. cable operator added video subscribers, and movies such as “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Get Out” drove an increase in filmed entertainment revenue.

Net income attributable to Comcast rose 20.2 percent to $2.57 billion, or 53 cents a share, during the company’s first quarter ended March 31, the company said on Thursday.

Revenue rose 8.9 percent to $20.46 billion.

Analysts had expected earnings of 44 cents per share and revenue of $20.12 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Comcast is facing pressure in its cable television business as younger viewers shun bigger cable bundles in favor of cheaper streaming options such as Netflix Inc (NFLX.O).

The company has been investing in improving its customer service and has tried to make its X1 platform a destination for a variety of content. Last year, Comcast made Netflix available through its X1 set top box and announced a similar deal with Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube in February.

The company also plans to offer a wireless service later this year in the hopes of increasing customer loyalty. The service, called Xfinity Mobile, will launch on Verizon Communications Inc’s (VZ.N) airwaves as part of a 2011 agreement between the companies.

Revenue in Comcast’s cable business rose 5.8 percent as the company added 42,000 video subscribers and 429,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter.

NBCUniversal sales rose 14.7 percent, helped by a 43.2 percent increase in filmed entertainment revenue.

(Reporting by Anjali Athavaley)

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