Comcast quarterly earnings call: Its all about the Stream

Tom Paine

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Comcast reported 4th quarter and full year 2018 earnings this morning .

The numbers were fine; I'll let you know if there comes a time when they're not. Revenue is at a $100 billion per year run rate, with an assist to the Sky acquisition, with its 4th quarter results largely included in the financials. Debt is higher, but will be partially offset by suspending Comcast's share buyback program.

Management provided some more details about its recently announced new streaming service , planned for an early 2020 rollout. Comcast appears to be walking a fine line in terms of stepping out of its footprint while not invading other cable systems' turf. At the start, mostly NBC-controlled content is planned to be included, so Comcast won't be going full bore into the others' territories. Furthermore, the service will be free to other multichannel subscribers in these territories, though its not clear if the other cable providers will be sending dollars back to Comcast in return.

NBCU's Bonnie Hammer will lead the Direct - to - Consumer initiative, and Comcast will use it to test out its new advertising systems for targeting consumers down to the household level. Non-cable subs can purchase it for $12 per month. It will also be available to Sky subscribers in the UK and elsewhere.

The streaming service as announced will not be a competitor to Netflix at first. In fact, new OTT offerings are becoming increasingly redundant, and most cable subs probably get much of that NBCU content anyway.

A Bloomberg opinion piece suggests that the rise of Netflix has been a gift to Comcast, because it has driven demand for more, faster broadband which has spurred Comcast's broadband growth.

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