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What Was behind Comcast Cable’s EBITDA Uptick?

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Jan. 29 2019, Updated 4:40 p.m. ET

Comcast’s Cable Communications business

Comcast’s (CMCSA) Cable Communications business revenues grew 3.9% YoY to $55.1 billion and posted adjusted EBITDA of $22.4 billion. Comcast’s Cable Communications business showed the highest EBITDA growth in the past seven years. Comcast’s Cable Communications business had total customer additions of 258,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The company’s Cable Communications growth in revenues has been mainly fueled by its business services, broadband, and Internet connectivity businesses that together boosted revenues by ~10% for fiscal 2018. Comcast is increasingly following a customer-centric strategy for its Cable Communications business, which has resulted in around 75% of its customer transactions being completed through digital touch kiosks. In the past year, the company has also reduced customer calls handled by agents by 15 million resulting in the addition of 1 million new customers.

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Comcast’s high-speed Internet business posted revenues of $4.4 billion, up by 10.1% YoY. The rise in revenues has been because of a combination of increasing network connectivity and making gigabit speed connectivity available to the 58 million businesses and homes in its footprint in the United States (IYW). The company’s high-speed Internet business continued to add customers and added 1 million customers for the full year.

Comcast’s video business continues its customer losses

However, Comcast’s video business continued its trend of customer losses with 29,000 customer losses in the fourth quarter of 2018. The company’s video business is increasingly feeling the pressure from video streaming businesses like Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon’s (AMZN) Prime Video service. However, Comcast’s X1 set-top box is rising up to this challenge, aggregating video streaming operators like Netflix and Alphabet’s (GOOG) YouTube.

The company’s wireless service Xfinity Mobile, which was launched in 2017, has also become an important component of its bundled offerings and ended 2018 with 1.2 million subscribers. However, Comcast stated at its earnings call that Xfinity Mobile had a loss of $191 million in Q4 2018.

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