Comcast posts a big win for its internet business, beats on top and bottom lines

Key Points
  • Comcast also reports a net drop in video customers of 106,000, better than the expected loss of 153,000.
  • Revenue from the company's NBCUniversal division grew by 8 percent during the quarter to $8.6 billion.
Roberts: Thrilled with Q3 performance

Comcast on Thursday reported third-quarter earnings that exceeded estimates for the top and bottom lines.

Here's what Comcast reported versus Wall Street's expectations:

  • Earnings: 65 cents per share vs. 61 cents per share expected in an analyst survey by Refinitiv
  • Revenue: $22.135 billion vs. $21.819 billion expected in the Refinitiv survey
  • High-speed internet customers: 363,000 net adds vs. 295,000 expected in a FactSet survey

Comcast's big beat on high-speed internet adds makes for the company's "best broadband quarter in 10 years," CEO Brian Roberts told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"Our product's better; our high-speed internet is just going great," Roberts said. "So we're seeing a really good transformation of the cable business into connectivity, into higher margins, lower capital spending, and that's why the numbers all seem to be better than people's expectations."

Shares of Comcast rose 5.5 percent in premarket trading Thursday. It closed the day up 5.04 percent.

Comcast also reported a net drop in video customers of 106,000 for the third quarter, better than the expected loss of 153,000, and an improvement from the previous quarter, when Comcast posted a net loss of 140,000 video customers.

The company's NBCUniversal segment, which includes broadcast and cable channels as well as theme parks and film studios, has weathered the downturn in traditional media relatively well.

Revenue from the division grew by 8 percent during the quarter to $8.63 billion, staying mostly in line with recent quarters.

NBCUniversal, parent company of NBC and CNBC, has posted consistent revenue figures of roughly $8 billion for the last several reports, with the exception of a particularly strong first-quarter report bolstered by coverage of the Super Bowl and the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Here's how the rest of Comcast's divisions did for the third quarter:

  • Cable communications accounted for $13.79 billion in total revenue
  • Cable networks accounted for $2.88 billion in total revenue
  • Broadcast television accounted for $2.45 billion in total revenue
  • Film brought in $1.82 billion in total revenue
  • Theme Parks, a segment nested under NBCUniversal, brought in $1.53 billion in revenue

Also Thursday, Comcast announced a 19 cents per share dividend, payable to shareholders on Jan. 23.

The quarterly report comes just weeks after Comcast won a contested bid for British broadcaster Sky, expanding its reach in traditional media and solidifying a long desired international play. The acquisition, which was finalized this quarter, wasn't reflected in last quarter's report.

"I think this feels like a new beginning," Roberts told CNBC after the earnings report. "It triples our footprint in the television business and doubles our footprint in the broadband space."

Roberts: Sky adds to our successful formula

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC and