Comcast revenue rises as it adds video, internet customers

File photo: Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
File photo: Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable operator, posted higher fourth-quarter revenue on Tuesday as it added new video and high-speed Internet customers.

Shares prices of Comcast were higher in late morning trading. (Click here to track Comcast stock.)

The owner of NBCUniversal also increased its stock buyback program to $10 billion, of which it earmarked $4.25 billion for 2015, and raised its annual dividend to $1 per share from 90 cents.

Comcast, which is awaiting approval from U.S. regulators for its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, said total revenue rose 4.8 percent to $17.73 billion in the quarter ended December.

Net income attributable to Comcast inched up 0.6 percent to $1.93 billion, or 74 cents per share. Earnings was 77 cents per share after excluding items such as favorable income tax adjustments.

Analysts expected Comcast to post earnings of 78 cents a share on $17.68 billion in revenue.

The company added video customers for the third time in the last five quarters, picking up 6,000 new subscribers from October through December. But that was less than the 46,000 it brought in a year earlier.

The number of new video subscribers is closely watched on Wall Street as pay TV operators fight to keep customers in the midst of competition from streaming video services.

Comcast's high-speed Internet customers rose by 375,000, a similar gain to a year earlier. The company also added 123,000 voice customers during the quarter.

At NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC, revenue rose 2.3 percent to $6.62 billion, boosted by theme parks and the NBC broadcast network.

While the Universal theme park in Florida lured visitors with a new Harry Potter attraction, NBC's performance has improved with bigger audiences for shows including "The Blacklist."

Advertising revenue at cable networks dropped 5.6 percent in the quarter to $857 million amid a decline in ratings that has hit networks across the TV industry. The NBC broadcast network's ad revenue rose 3.1 percent to $1.66 billion.

Revenue at the film studio fell nearly 11 percent from a year earlier, when the company benefited from home entertainment sales of blockbuster "Despicable Me 2."

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Comcast's shares closed at $58.21 on Monday on the Nasdaq. Shares in the media giant have climbed about 14 percent in the last year, compared with a rise of about 16 percent for the Nasdaq.

Recent regulatory decisions from the Federal Communications Commission are expected to affect Comcast. Last month, it changed the definition of broadband to download speeds of 25 megabits per second or higher from the previous standard of 4 megabits.

The regulatory body continues to deliberate on a "net neutrality" plan that, if passed, would effectively prevent providers like Comcast from charging for faster Internet service.

Read MoreHere's what net neutrality could mean to you

CNBC's Terri Cullen and Reuters contributed to this report.