Comcast’s Latest Earnings Prove That We Should Stop Calling It a Cable Company

Though the company reported higher earnings for last quarter, it is relying less on video subscribers to drive growth.

Philadelphia, United States – June 11, 2013: Comcast Center building on June 11, 2013 in Philadelphia. As of 2012 the 297m tall skyscraper is the tallest building in Philadelphia and 15th tallest in the US. iStock | tupungato

Though Comcast is still competing with Fox to acquire Britain’s largest pay-TV provider, the company is no longer leaning on video as its chief source of growth.

On Thursday, the company reported a loss of 140,000 cable subscribers last quarter — its fifth straight quarter of loss.

The magnitude of the decline is even greater when compared to the same period last year: Comcast lost 34,000 cable-television subscribers during the second quarter of 2017.

But things aren’t bleak for the company. Comcast was able to beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit since it managed to attract thousands of cable subscribers.

Remarkably, Comcast added 260,000 internet customers in the second quarter, a nearly 50 percent increase over the 175,000 broadband customers it added at the same time last year.

Comcast’s steady and redeeming broadband growth is all the evidence we need to recognize the company mainly (and maybe someday solely) as an internet provider.

On an earnings conference call Thursday, company executives explained that the content streaming boom has been more helpful than harmful to its business overall, but particularly for its broadband unit and NBCUniversal.

As a result, Comcast says it has been aggressively marketing single-play broadband to subscribers as opposed to its traditional bundles that typically include some combination of internet and cable. The company reported losing 63,000 customers with double-play packages but added 206,000 single-play customers in the quarter.

And Xfinity Mobile, though quickly gathering steam, seems to be in the same boat as cable for Comcast — a service that’s now merely complementary to the broadband core.

The mobile platform now has 781,000 connected lines, with Comcast adding 204,000 lines during the last quarter alone, which ended June 30.

Comcast’s revenue rose 2.1 percent from the previous year to $21.7 billion.