Comcast Warns Of Steepening Video Subscriber Losses In 2020

Comcast Corp’s cable video business witnessed a steepening decline in subscribers in 2019 -- with warnings of bigger losses to come.

Comcast’s stock was down 2.4% in early Thursday trading to $46.31.

Comcast saw video subscriber declines of 3.2% in 2019 versus a 1.6% drop in 2018. In an earnings call, Senior Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer Michael Cavanagh said to expect worsening declines in 2020.

Comcast lost 133,000 residential video customers in the fourth quarter and 671,000 subscribers for all of 2019 -- compared to a loss of 19,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2018 and a total 2018 decline of 344,000.

Fourth-quarter cable subscription video revenue was down 1.2% to $5.5 billion, and off 1% to $22.3 billion for all of 2019.



Continued growth in Comcast's broadband business made a more positive picture -- up 9% to $4.8 billion in the fourth quarter and 10% higher for 2019 to $18.7 billion. Broadband customers grew 424,000 in the period, and 1.3 million for all of 2019.

Although Comcast’s NBCUniversal’s fourth-quarter 2019 television revenue posted slightly higher results versus a year ago, its film business sank 21%.

All this gave NBCU declining revenue overall -- down 2.6% to $9.2 billion with lower adjusted cash flow, sinking 4.7% to $2.0 billion.

NBCU’s Universal Pictures unit was down 21% to $1.6 billion due to comparisons to a year before, when the business saw big success with “The Grinch” and “Halloween.”  

The film division’s adjusted cash flow -- earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- fell sharply by 50% to $91 million.

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