Comcast financials: Tax reform, broadband bright spots

Jan. 30, 2018
Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) fourth quarter and year-end earnings reports identified a number of bright spots, including the recent tax reform legislation, broadband subscriber additions and network upgrades, and WiFi ...

Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) fourth quarter and year-end earnings reports identified a number of bright spots, including the recent tax reform legislation, broadband subscriber additions and network upgrades, and WiFi.

"(Tax reform) will further enhance our financial position and will in turn enable us to do more of the things that help us better serve our customers, our employees, and the communities where we operate," said Brian Roberts, CEO, Comcast. "This means continuing to develop the most innovative products and services, investing where we see high returns and opportunities to drive growth."

Comcast announced a 21% increase in its dividend, its tenth consecutive annual increase, and said as a result of the tax reform it gave a special bonus to eligible employees in December.

For the fourth quarter, the operator added 350,000 net new broadband customers. For the year, the company picked up 770,000 net new customer relationships overall. This number included 1.2 million net new broadband customers.

Roberts noted that in video, 2017 could be characterized as bringing a "new normal" to competition with more aggressive offers from competitors, both traditional and over-the-top (OTT). The company's net video losses (both residential and business) were 33,000 for the quarter and 151,000 for the year.

Comcast is poised to be the "aggregator of aggregators" bringing its customers the content they want, Roberts said. He highlighted the integration of YouTube into the Xfinity platform and the offering of new music experiences through the likes of Pandora and iHeartRadio. Twenty million voice remotes have been deployed, and Comcast is giving customers new ways to use them, such as voting for their favorites on the Voice.

As for broadband, the median monthly data usage for Comcast customers was 131 GB per month for the second half of 2017, which was an increase of 48% year over year. By the end of 2017, 75% of residential customers were receiving 100 Mbps or higher, compared to 50% at the end of 2016. Almost 80% of the Comcast footprint had access to DOCSIS 3.1-enabled gigabit speeds.

"We will continue to differentiate our product by providing gigabit speeds at scale … augmenting WiFi coverage and control with xFi and the rollout of our fabulous little pods with connectivity increasingly at the epicenter of our relationship with customers. We have the opportunity to provide whole-home solutions that integrate and help manage all of the devices our customers rely on," Roberts said.

The pods were launched in December in Boston and Chicago. When plugged into outlets around the home, they work as a WiFi mesh network to provide improved coverage throughout the home.

Xfinity Mobile, which was launched in May, ended the year with 380,000 customer lines.

"We like our game plan. We like the fact that it is connected to our existing business lines, and it's a really simple product approach that can scale," said Dave Watson, president and CEO of Comcast Cable. "The 'By the Gig' approach is very attractive to most of the customers."

Watson added that the company is planning to begin packaging mobile with other lines of business, including broadband.

About the Author

BTR Staff

EDITORIAL
STEPHEN HARDY
Editorial Director and Associate Publisher
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MATT VINCENT
Senior Editor
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SALES
KRISTINE COLLINS
Business Solutions Manager
(312) 350-0452
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JEAN LAUTER
Business Solutions Manager
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