Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Comcast's Revenue Grows 5% in Q1, All-Digital Transition Underway

Citing customer upgrades to digital and advanced video services as well as continued growth in high-speed Internet (HSI),
Comcast's revenue from its cable operations increased 5% to $8.3 billion for the first quarter of 2009 as compared to $7.9 billion in the first quarter of 2008. The gains were partially offset by video customer losses and lower advertising revenue. The monthly average total revenue per video customer increased 8% from $106.70 to $115.27, reflecting an increasing number of customers taking multiple services.

Some highlights for the quarter:

  • As of March 31, 2009, Comcast's video, high-speed Internet and voice customers totaled 46.1 million, reflecting 549,000 net additions during the first quarter of 2009.

  • Comcast now serves over 15,258,000, a gain of 329,000 in the quarter.

  • Total Revenue Generating Units reached 63,426,000, up 6% compared to last year and a gain of 837,000 in Q1

  • Comcast added 298,000 Digital Voice accounts in Q1, giving it a total of 6,769,000 customers.

  • 300 million on-demand views per month

  • Voice ARPU is $39 per month.

  • Voice penetration is 14%

  • Free Cash Flow totaled $1.4 billion in the first quarter of 2009 as compared to $702 million in 2008, a 95% increase.

  • Consolidated capital expenditures decreased 19% from the prior year to $1.2 billion, or 13.1% of total revenue, reflecting a decreased level of capital intensity at Comcast Cable.

  • In a conference call, Comcast executives said new additions weakened in March and April due to the overall economy and increased video competition.

  • DOCSIS 3.0 is now deployed in 35% of the footprint with a goal of reaching 65% by year end

  • Comcast also provided an update on its all digital conversion. a project that is expected to add more bandwidth than any other improvement to its network infrastructure. The all-digital conversion will add 250 to 300 MHZ of bandwidth by moving 40-50 analog channels to digital and leaving just the lifeline basic channels in analog. The bandwidth gain makes room for more HD channels and ethnic programming. The upgrade does not impact lifeline basic customers who will continue to receive analog service For the 72% of the customer based currently served by digital service, only secondary TV sets inside the home without STBs will need to transition to a digital adapter. For the 14% of the customer base currently purchasing the expanded basic tier, Comcast will provide digital adapters. About 5% of the network footprint has already made the transition. Portland was the first market. The upgraded network and the new digital adapters are performing well. Three quarters of customers are choosing to self-install the digital adapters, resulting in far fewer truck rolls than forecast. The company also foresees an upside as digital customers are more likely to take on an additional service or to choose pay-per-view. The transition is built into 2009 and 2010 budgets.