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Comcast beats on earnings and revenue

The Comcast Center in Philadelphia.
Source: Comcast
The Comcast Center in Philadelphia.

Comcast on Wednesday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations.

The company posted second-quarter earnings per share of 83 cents, 2 cents higher than consensus forecast by analysts in a Thomson Reuters poll. Revenue was $19.27 billion, versus an expected $18.99 billion.

In the year-earlier period, earnings were 84 cents a share on $18.74 billion in revenue.

Comcast share prices were up about 1 percent in late-morning trading.

"I am pleased to report excellent results as our momentum continues across our businesses," Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. "Despite an expected difficult comparison to last year's record second quarter film slate, NBCUniversal achieved solid results, driven by strength in our TV businesses and Theme Parks."

The Philadelphia-based media giant posted a net loss of 4,000 video customers, but said that was the best second-quarter result in over 10 years. High-speed internet customers increased by 220,000, the best second-quarter result in eight years.

On the company's earnings call, Roberts said the number of video customers is a "remarkable testament to the investments we've made in our platform and the breadth of our content."

Total customer relationships, which include video, high-speed and voice customers, increased by 115,00 to 28.1 million compared from 27.27 million in the year-earlier period.

NBCUniversal saw operating cash flow increase 70.5 percent, thanks to growth in content licensing and ad revenue, the company said. Theme parks also helped the top line, with the inclusion of Universal Studios in Japan and the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in California.

Cable network revenue increased $2.6 billion in the second quarter. Distribution revenue increased but was partially offset by a decline in subscribers at the company's cable networks, Comcast said.

Comcast also beat Wall Street estimates in the first quarter of 2016 ending in March. Those results were helped by its biggest first-quarter gain in pay-TV customers in nine years and an uptick in its high-speed internet, business services and entertainment units.

The number of new television subscribers is a closely followed metric by Wall Street as TV operators continue to fight to keep customers from pivoting to less-expensive streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Comcast added 53,000 paid-television subscribers last quarter, after losing 8,000 in the year-earlier period.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable operator and number one U.S. high-speed internet provider, is adjusting as viewers switch to "over-the-top" online streaming options. For example, the company's Xfinity services now stream directly to some televisions. Comcast, which owns CNBC's parent company, also debuted its "Watchable" site in September.

NBC begins Olympics coverage next week, with live-streaming of most events.

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com. Comcast is also a co-owner of Hulu.