Comcast Profits Rise Despite Recession

The company's subscriber base was boosted by the digital television transition, but it is facing increased competition from Verizon and AT&T.
Comcast continues to defy the recession by posting a 5.4% increase in profits for the first quarter.

The cable company reported a net income of $778 million, up from $738 million for the same period last year. Comcast is benefitting from the federally-mandated switch to digital television, and the increased number of subscribers led to $8.84 billion in revenue, a 5.3% year-over-year increase.

"Our results for the first quarter mark a solid start to 2009, demonstrating the underlying strength of our subscription businesses and our ability to continue to manage effectively in a challenging environment," said Brian Roberts, Comcast's CEO, in a statement. "Looking ahead, we remain focused on delivering superior products to our customers, strengthening our competitive position and building value for our shareholders over the long term."

The "triple play" offering, a bundled package of Internet, television, and VoIP phone services, was especially popular, and it led to an 8% increase in revenue per user. Overall, the company added 549,000 net new subscribers for the quarter.

Along with competition from rivals like Time Warner and Cox Cable, Comcast is seeing telecoms increasingly encroach on its territory. Verizon is spending billions of dollars to roll out fiber to the home to offer IPTV with its FiOS offering, and AT&T is providing television services with its U-Verse.

The telecoms also have the added benefit of being able to bundle mobile phone offerings with home phone, television, and Internet services. Most of the major cable companies are tackling mobility by investing in Clearwire and eventually reselling WiMax services. Cox is taking a different approach and will be launching its own cellular service using spectrum it acquired in a government auction.

Learn more about all the latest products and technologies at TechWeb's Interop Las Vegas, May 17-21. Join us (registration required).