Widely known as a cable company, Comcast today unveiled their latest effort to thrust themselves into the wireless age – XFINITY Remote, a Web-based remote control that gives users the power to change channels and set their DVRs from an IP-enabled product.
“I think it’s going to liberate you from that cable box,” CEO Brian Roberts told Cramer during Wednesday’s Mad Money, broadcast from the 2010 Cable Show in Los Angeles. “One thing that has been frustrating me is that we haven’t been developing fast enough new products.”
Roberts gave a demo of the XFINITY Remote on an Apple iPad. Check it out here.
Making those product improvements has been a major priority for Comcast , which beat analysts’ consensus estimates by a penny when it announced earnings of 31 cents per share on revenues that rose by 9.8% year-over-year. Despite tough economic conditions this past year, Comcast looked for ways to invest in the company, Roberts said. Comcast increased the speed of its broadband services and recently launched XFINITY, a technology platform offering more channels in HD and more than 80,000 programs on demand.
“We just keep trying to make our products better and our service better,” Roberts said. “I think that you try to accelerate, widen your lead and invest.”
Another change, as Cramer pointed out, has been a return of capital and particularly the reinstatement of the dividend. Roberts said that change has come about thanks to Chief Financial Officer Mike Angelakis, who came to the company a few years ago and found ways to make investments while reinstating dividends. Roberts agreed with Cramer that because capital expenditures have peaked, Comcast could continue to pay an increased dividend year after year.
Cramer also asked about Comcast’s plans to acquire a 51% stake in NBC Universal, which is the parent company of CNBC. Roberts said the deal would be “accretive immediately,” meaning that the deal is expected to increase earnings per share.
“There is not the capital spending at a content company that there is at a cable company,” Roberts explained. “We think we have a great partnership with GE, and I have to tell you, I’m more excited about the potential transaction now than I was five months ago."
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