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Comcast CEO: 'Great quarter' across the board

Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts on Tuesday called the company's latest financial results a "great quarter," with strength across its varying businesses as investments pay off.

CNBC's parent company reported quarterly earnings that matched expectations and revenue that beat estimates, helped by NBCUniversal's box-office hit "Minions" and growth in its high-speed Internet and business services divisions.

After the earnings announcement, the company's shares were up slightly in premarket trading. (Get the latest quote here.)

The media and cable giant posted quarterly earnings of 80 cents per share, down from 99 cents in the year-earlier period. Revenue increased to $18.7 billion from $16.79 billion a year ago.

Wall Street expected Comcast to deliver earnings of 80 cents a share on $18.03 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Comcast offices in Philadelphia.
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"In cable, we had the best third quarter in video in nine years," Roberts said. Subscriber departures narrowed to 48,000 — an improvement over losses of 81,000 a year ago as pay-TV operators battled streaming video services Netflix and Hulu.

Comcast has been enhancing features of its X1 set-top box and improving customer service in a bid to retain pay-TV subscribers.

Roberts called the X1 offering the best experience in the business: "Twenty-five percent of our customers have X1," he said. "That includes now the voice remote."

Roberts said there's no greater way for advertisers to get their message out than on television. Comcast is augmenting that with recent investments in digital services like Vox Media and BuzzFeed, he added, adjusting to the new ways people are consuming content.

To gauge the appetite for online video, it's also testing an ad-supported short-form video service called "Watchable," targeting millennials, and plans to introduce a comedy-centric $3.99-a-month streaming service "Seeso."

Read More Comcast launches 'Watchable' video app

Revenue from Comcast's high-speed Internet business rose about 10 percent to $3.1 billion in the quarter, and Internet customer additions rose 1.5 percent to 320,000. Business services revenue jumped 19.5 percent to $1.21 billion.

That's the "best quarter in six years," Roberts said.

At NBCUniversal, revenue grew 21 percent to $7.15 billion from a year earlier. Revenue at the film studio climbed 64 percent from a year earlier to $2 billion, boosted by the blockbuster film "Minions," which crossed $1 billion in revenue.

"We're about five years, 4½ years into our [NBCUniversal] partnership together here and we've just about doubled our cash flow," Roberts said. "That's probably the fastest growth rate of any of the media companies."

He acknowledged, however, that it's going to be tough next year to beat the recent string of summer box office blockbusters out of Universal Pictures.

"Jurassic World" is the biggest grossing movie of the year, with worldwide ticket sales of nearly $1.7 billion, according to Box Office Mojo. "Minions" was fourth overall with more than $1.1 billion. Earlier this year, "Furious 7," released in the spring, is No. 2 with $1.5 billion.

The Universal theme park business, with its popular "Harry Potter" attraction in Florida, saw revenue jump 14.1 percent to $458 million. Last month, Comcast said it would buy a majority stake in Universal Studios Japan for $1.5 billion.

"[Universal Studios Japan] has the same kind of growth trajectory, we hope and believe, that Universal theme parks has in Florida. And next year, we'll be opening 'Harry Potter' in California," Roberts said.

In recent months, Comcast has notified Verizon that it plans to move forward with its 2011 agreement to resell the wireless provider's cellular service in exchange for airwaves.

"We do have an opportunity ... [with] Verizon but also with Sprint to test things," Roberts said. "It requires about six months to activate it or so. We've begun that process."

The ultimate goal dovetails with Comcast's Wi-Fi investments, he said: "We want all of our content available on every device [with] ease of use [and] ease of authentication."

On Monday, the media giant announced a proposal to reclassify each share of its Class A special common stock into one share of class A common stock.

Read MoreComcast to reclassify special common stock

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBC Universal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.

— CNBC's Katie Little and Reuters contributed to this report.

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