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Comcast Profit Up 64%

From Associated Press

Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable television operator, reported Tuesday that its second-quarter profit rose 64% as its video and high-speed Internet businesses gained steam.

Net income rose to $430 million, or 19 cents a share, from $262 million, or 12 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose 11% to $5.6 billion.

The results easily beat analysts’ estimates for profit of 15 cents a share on revenue of $5.54 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

The second quarter was much tougher for Charter Communications Inc., the St. Louis-based cable operator controlled by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen. Although its quarterly loss narrowed from a year earlier, it still was larger than Wall Street had expected.

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Charter lost $356 million, or $1.18 a share, in the three months ended June 30, compared with a loss of $416 million, or $1.39, a year earlier. Analysts expected a loss of 91 cents a share.

Revenue rose 7% to $1.32 billion. Gains in high-speed Internet and telephone customers helped narrow the quarterly loss.

Charter shares declined 4 cents to $1.29. Comcast’s shares rose 39 cents to $31.

In the quarter, Comcast benefited from gains in video and high-speed Internet service but Charter lost ground in cable TV. However, business at Charter’s Internet and phone units rose.

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Comcast’s video revenue increased 5.9% to $3.4 billion, driven by higher monthly revenue per basic subscriber and a 13% increase in the number of digital cable customers.

Comcast added 284,000 digital customers in the second quarter of 2005 and now has more than 9.1 million. High-speed Internet revenue increased 29% to $982 million, and Comcast ended the quarter with more than 7.7 million high-speed Internet subscribers.

However, the company added only 297,000 subscribers in the latest period, down from 327,000 in the year-earlier quarter.

Charter, the fourth-largest cable company, added 43,800 high-speed Internet customers and 12,500 telephone customers, but lost 9,000 digital video customers and 41,700 analog video customers. The net gain was 5,600 customers.

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