* Comcast beats Street on EPS by four cents
* Despicable Me 2 movie boosts cash flow at NBC Universal
* Shares fall 1 percent
By Liana B. Baker
Oct 30 A top Comcast Corp executive
said on Wednesday that the company is in talks to license its
latest technology, called X1, to other cable operators, which
would help the industry better compete with telecom and
"Concerning the licensing of the X1 product, we have had
interest expressed by a number of MSOs (multi-system operator or
cable companies), and we are considering the opportunity,"
Comcast's cable unit Chief Executive Neil Smit said during a
conference call with analysts after the company released its
Comcast unveiled its X1 cloud-based platform last year and
has expanded the service which has an advanced interface, a more
complete search function, and a better digital video recorder to
nearly all of its markets.
John Malone, the billionaire chairman of Liberty Media
who made his name in the cable industry, has been
calling on Comcast to share its technology with smaller players.
Cable companies should team up to create a rival to Internet
streaming service Netflix, Malone said on Oct. 10. He thinks
Comcast will share its technology with the rest of the industry.
Rising programming costs from media companies have combined
with online streaming competition from telecom companies such as
Verizon and AT&T are pressuring the cable industry.
"The industry needs to be much more coordinated. That's the
theme this year with Malone being in it. It's all about
coordination and consolidation at that point," said Macquarie
analyst Amy Yong.
Malone's Liberty Media has a large stake in cable operator
Charter Communications and has been circling Time
Warner Cable as a potential acquisition target. Time
Warner Cable reports its third-quarter results on Thursday
The cable industry also faces another challenge as customers
who consume an increasing amount of Internet video, subscribe to
lower-cost alternatives such as Netflix.
Smit said putting Netflix on its set top boxes was not a
priority for Comcast since customers can get that service in
Smit's remarks were made after Comcast posted quarterly a
profit that beat analyst estimates on Wednesday. Shares fell 1.4
percent to $47.05 per share after the company lost more video
subscribers than expected and added an amount of high speed
Internet customers that missed estimates.
Comcast lost about 129,000 video subscribers in the quarter,
which was worse than the loss of 102,000 subscribers Wall Street
analysts were expecting, according to Street Account.
Comcast, like its smaller rivals, increasingly relies on
Internet customers for growth as they continue to lose cable TV
subscribers to competitors such as and grapple with rising
programming costs. Comcast added 297,000 high-speed Internet
customers, which slightly missed estimates of a gain of 305,400
Comcast clinched full control of NBC Universal for $16.7
billion earlier this year by buying out General Electric's stake
a few years ahead of schedule. It owns broadcaster NBC, the film
studio Universal and a host of cable channels.
In its NBC Universal business, its biggest cash flow growth
was seen at its filmed entertainment unit, where it generated
operating cash flow of $189 million compared to $72 million a
year ago thanks to the children's movie "Despicable Me 2". Total
operating cash flow at NBC Universal rose 9.6 percent to $1.25
The company posted third-quarter net income of $1.73
billion, or 65 cents a share, compared with $2.11 billion, or 78
cents per share, a year ago. A year ago, it saw gains from the
sale of spectrum to wireless companies and from its stake in A&E
Its EPS beat estimates by four cents, according to Thomson
Revenue fell 2.4 percent to $16.15 billion, below analysts'
estimates of $16.26 billion, according to Thomson Reuters