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Cord-cutting continues at Comcast, but with a twist investors will like

Cord-cutting continues at Comcast, but with a twist investors will like
[Photo: courtesy of Comcast]

A year ago, I wrote that “cord-cutting is back at Comcast,” after the Philadelphia cable giant posted a loss of 34,000 pay-TV customers for the second quarter of 2017. That decline in traditional cable subscribers ended a nice winning streak for Comcast, which had been bucking the cord-cutting trend to the point where it actually gained cable subscribers in 2016.

Well, the company reported its second-quarter 2018 earnings this morning, and the results leave little doubt that Comcast’s pay-TV mojo is gone for the foreseeable future. The company shed another 140,000 pay-TV subscribers for the quarter ended June 30, more than four times what it lost during the same quarter a year ago.

Despite the hit, shares were up 3% in early trading today, probably because Comcast more than made up for its cord-cutting problem with 260,000 new broadband customers, far above what analysts were expecting and the highest second-quarter result in 10 years.

Granted, internet customers are not as lucrative as people who paid for those bloated cable bundles of yore, but those subscribers are nevertheless flocking to Comcast at an accelerated rate. As they do, Comcast’s place among the top distributors of TV content feels a lot less shaky because, in the end, you’ll still need a distribution company to deliver your Netflix and Amazon Video.

All told, Comcast is adding tens of thousands of new customers each quarter. According to a statement from CEO Brian Roberts, the company ended Q2 with 182,000 new “customer relationships.” It’s safe to say that many of those new customers are broadband subscribers who identify as cord-cutters, which means their relationship status with Comcast is, well, complicated.

You can check out the full report here.

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