The cable and entertainment conglomerate Comcast reported net income of almost $2 billion in the second quarter, with revenue growth in the company’s cable business offsetting a lackluster performance in its NBCUniversal entertainment group.
Profit increased 14.8 percent, to $1.99 billion, while total revenue rose 3.5 percent, to $16.8 billion from the period a year earlier, the company reported Tuesday.
Revenue in Comcast’s cable unit increased 5.4 percent, to $11 billion.
Like other cable and satellite companies, Comcast is fighting to keep video customers as a growing number of people bypass cable and satellite television subscriptions in favor of cheaper streaming alternatives.
Comcast, the largest cable operator in the country, lost that battle in the second quarter, posting a net loss of 144,000 video customers. That loss is an improvement on the second quarter of 2013, when the company lost 162,000 video customers. Comcasts credits the improvement to better product offerings and customer support.
The loss came after two consecutive quarters when Comcast added paying television subscribers.
Comcast’s total customer losses in its cable group came to 25,000, with increases in Internet and telephone subscribers making up for the loss of video customers.
The second quarter typically is the weakest period for Comcast. A portion of its customer base is made up of students who cancel subscriptions when they leave for the summer, and snowbirds who leave warmer regions during the summer months.
Across the industry in the United States, the number of households subscribing to pay-television services has been dropping in recent years. About 100.8 million households now subscribe to pay TV, down from 100.9 million in 2013, according to the research firm SNL Kagan.
In contrast, the number of households that relied on the Internet or streaming services to watch television shows instead of a traditional cable or satellite subscription, surged 31 percent, to 7.6 million.
Revenue in Comcast’s NBCUniversal group were relatively flat at $6 billion, with growth in its cable networks and broadcast television groups offsetting declines in the filmed entertainment business. Filmed entertainment revenue tumbled 15.3 percent in the quarter, to $1.2 billion, because of the timing of certain movie releases.
Advertising revenue in both the cable networks and broadcast television groups fell slightly during the second quarter. The company blamed the decline on “The Voice” having more airings in the second quarter of 2013. In the cable networks segment, the company changed the reporting structure for its Fandango digital movie operation into a different company unit.
Comcast is awaiting regulatory approval for its $45 billion merger with a rival, Time Warner Cable, which was announced in February. Costs related to the deal totaled about $44 million in the quarter.
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