Comcast Corp. reported weaker results at NBC broadcast TV and deeper cable-TV subscriber losses in the first quarter, but higher revenues and profits because of TV rate hikes and growth in other parts of the business.
Theme parks, big-screen movies and business services did well.
Revenue at the cable-TV and media conglomerate rose 3 percent to $15.3 billion when compared with the year-ago. The Super Bowl boosted NBC's advertising in the year-ago quarter. The championship NFL game rotated to CBS this year.
Comcast's profits jumped about 20 percent to $1.44 billion from $1.2 billion for the quarter, or 54 cents a share compared with 45 cents a share. Part of the gain resulted from the sale of wireless spectrum to AT&T Inc. for $108 million, or $67 million after taxes.
Comcast's cable division lost 60,000 TV subscribers, more than the 37,000 a year ago, and NBC broadcast-TV's operating loss widened to $35 million from $14 million. The company reports this figure as operating cash flow.
Comcast officials attributed the cable subscriber losses to TV rate hikes instituted over 72 percent of its customer base in the first quarter compared with similar hikes over only 62 percent of its customers a year ago.
Comcast executives had warned of NBC's first-quarter travails. The network front-loaded new episodes The Voice into the fall season to benefit from the audience attracted to NBC with the London Olympics and two new prime-time NBC shows bombed in early 2013.
Theme park profits strengthened to $69 million from $6 million. The company does not report profits in its business services division, but it does revenue. That rose to $741 million from $581 million.
The addition of high-speed customers continued in 2013, with 433,000 new Internet customers. The year-ago number was 439,000. Comcast also seemed to resume healthy growth in its phone business, adding 211,000 new customers compared with 164,000 in the year-ago quarter.