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Comcast revenue rises on Olympics, Internet customers

Comcast technicians head out on a job.

Douglas C. Pizac/AP

Comcast Corp posted a higher quarterly profit on Friday, taking home its share of gold from the London Olympics with $1.2-billion (U.S.) in additional revenue at its NBC Universal media unit.

The leading U.S. cable TV provider, whose shares rose nearly 2 per cent in premarket trading, also benefited from adding Internet users.

Comcast posted third-quarter net income of $2.1-billion, or 78 cents a share, compared with $908-million, or 33 cents a share a year earlier.

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Excluding gains from sales of spectrum and a stake in A&E Networks, earnings came to 46 cents a share, matching the analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 15 per cent to $16.54-billion, which came in above Wall Street estimates of $16.08-billion.

NBC's London Olympics coverage helped NBC Universal's revenue climb more than 30 per cent $6.8-billion from a year earlier. The games drew a record audience that averaged 31.1 million viewers per night, 12 per cent above the Beijing Olympics.

The strong ratings performance over the summer means Comcast will at least break even on its $1.18-billion deal for Olympics broadcast rights, while analysts had initially expected it to lose money from the agreement.

Comcast took a 51 per cent controlling stake in NBC Universal in January 2011. It holds the U.S. broadcast rights for the next four Olympic contests.

Revenue in Comcast's cable unit rose 7 per cent to $9.97-billion. The company lost 117,000 video customers, which beat StreetAccount estimates of a loss of 133,000. Its 287,000 new Internet customers also beat expectations.

Average revenue per video customer rose about 9 per cent to $150.73 as more subscribers bought pricier products, such as high-definition digital recorder devices.

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