Comcast Corp. added 161,000 TV subscribers in 2016, its best performance in a decade, as telcos eased their expansions and online streaming again didn't develop into the quick cable-killer.
Comcast announced the TV subscriber numbers on Thursday morning with its fourth quarter and full-year earnings. The company, confident in its business, also boosted its dividend 15 percent to $1.26 a share and said it would split its stock two-for-one.
Fourth-quarter revenues jumped 9 percent to $21.9 billion. Net income attributable to Comcast rose to $2.3 billion from $2 billion in the prior-year quarter.
- Total revenue rose 9.2 percent to $21 billion in the quarter, topping analysts’ estimates of $20.7 billion.
- Net income for the quarter was $2.3 billion, up 17 percent from a year earlier. The average monthly customer bill climbed 3.8 percent to $150.58.
- Comcast’s Universal film unit, which acquired DreamWorks Animation last year, generated $1.83 billion in sales during the period, up 13 percent from a year earlier, driven by the box-office success of the animated feature “Sing.”
- Sales in the business services division, which sells phone, web and video services to companies, rose 15 percent to $1.44 billion.
- Revenue at the NBCUniversal group, which includes the NBC broadcast network, cable channels such as USA and MSNBC, the Universal film studio and theme parks, grew 13 percent to $8.45 billion. The results were helped partly by the NFL expanding some of its Thursday Night Football broadcasts to include NBC.
- Cable network sales gained 4 percent to $2.5 billion.
- The cable operator paid $658 million in dividends in the quarter, a 7.2 percent increase from a year earlier, and bought back $1.24 billion in stock.
“Our performance at Comcast Cable was exceptionally strong. We grew operating cash flow 5.6%, added 161,000 video subscribers, the best video customer results in a decade, and delivered our best high-speed Internet customer results in nine years,” Comcast chairman-CEO Brian Roberts said.
“NBCUniversal also had a terrific year, fueled by the tremendous success of the Olympics, the opening of new attractions at our theme parks, and strong theatrical performances, particularly in animation. The consistency and strength of our results enables us to announce that we are increasing our dividend by 15% per share, we will split our stock two-for-one, the twelfth split in our company’s history, and we expect to repurchase $5 billion of our stock this year.”