As the economy worsens, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) may be able to find a silver lining, as consumers tend to stay home and value their cable subscriptions more. That's the best case scenario for the nation's number one cable operator, as Comcast saw Q3 net income rise 37.7 percent to $771 million ($0.26 a share) over last year's $560 million ($0.18 a share). Adjusted earnings per share grew 33 percent to $0.24, exceeding the average analyst forecast of 22 cents according to Reuters Estimates. Meanwhile, Q3 revenue was up 10 percent to $8.55 billion, just missing analysts' forecast of $8.59 billion. Still, Comcast did suffer some setbacks during the period. Basic video subscribers dropped by 147,000 to 24.4 million in Q3, a much deeper decline than the year-ago period's 56,000 fall.
-- Ad revs fell 10 percent to $374 million from Q307's $417 million. Comcast pinned the fall-off to having one less week in the broadcast ad calendar, though continued softness in the ad marketplace was also a culprit. An increase in political advertising provided a partial boost. Year to date through September 30, 2008, ad sales decreased 3 percent to $1.1 billion.
-- The Programming segment posted Q3 revenue of $347 million, a 5 gain from $330 million last year, reflecting higher distribution revenue and strong international growth.
-- Comcast added 382,000 high-speed internet subscribers in Q3. Penetration reached 30 percent of homes passed. Overall, high-speed internet revenue increased 9 percent to $1.8 billion. More to come
By David Kaplan