Comcast Corp. recorded strong fourth-quarter earnings results for many all its new digital businesses -- but not for local cable advertising sales and the NBC network
Fourth-quarter local cable advertising sales slipped 9% to $546 million, with overall 2011 results down 1% to $2 billion. As with many local TV ad sellers, Comcast says lower political advertising was the major reason.
Revenues at the broadcast business of NBCUniversal slipped 3.7% during the period to $1.8 billion, with overall 2011 revenue down 7.1% to $6.4 billion. Operating cash flow went into the red -- $80 million -- from a gain of $55 million a year ago. Overall, 2011 operating cash flow for NBC broadcast platforms was up 4.7% to $123 million.
NBC Universal's cable networks continue to do the heavy lifting -- up 5.3% in revenue to $2.2 billion for the fourth quarter and 10.6% higher for the year overall to $8.5 billion. Cable's operating cash flow continues to thrive, up 15.3% to $923 million, and 5.4% higher for the entire 2011 to $3.3 billion
Newer business at Comcast continues to produce well -- especially high-speed Internet, where revenues improved 10.1% to $2.2 billion in the quarter. Revenues from Comcast's phone business climbed 4.9% to $882 million. Video -- still Comcast's largest revenue driver -- inched up 1.3% to $4.9 billion.
Internet grabbed a net 1.6 million more customers for 2011 -- now at 18.1 million -- while voice added 732,000 customers for the year to 9.3 million. Video customers slipped 460,000 to 22.3 million.
Comcast grew 30% in net income in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $1.3 billion, with revenue climbing 47% to $15.0 billion. For the year, Comcast revenue was up 47.2% to $55.8 billion. These strong results were partly due to the completed equity transaction of NBCUniversal in 2011.
But analyzing the financial picture as if NBC were a part of the company in 2010 -- Comcast's pro forma results -- meant the company grew revenues at 3% for the quarter and 4.7% for the year.