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Comcast weighs in on Q3, Outdoor Life and cable theft

Tue, 10/30/2001 - 7:00pm
Anne Kerven

Comcast Corp.'s subscriber numbers showed fairly steady growth in the third quarter, but the cableco recorded a $106.8 million net loss on service revenue of $1.5 billion. Comcast also acquired the Outdoor Life Network and sold its interest in Speedvision for an undisclosed amount.

The company cable unit's quarterly net subscriber additions reached 12,300, compared with a negative 9,800 in second quarter 2001 and 12,100 for the same period a year ago. Cable homes passed was up to 13.9 million, not far ahead of second quarter's 13.8 million or 13.6 million a year ago. Cable subscribers reached 8.4 million for the quarter, essentially flat over the other quarters.

Digital cable additions climbed to 243,400, or a weekly average of 18,700 net additions, after falling to 200,300 in second quarter from 212,800 a year ago. Digital cable ready subscribers reached 8.3 million, compared with 8.1 million in the second quarter and 7.4 million a year ago. Digital cable subscriptions climbed to 2.1 million from 1.9 million in the second quarter and 1.3 million a year ago.

ComcastAtHome showed 117,100 new subs, or a weekly average of about 9,000 net additions, compared with 101,300 in second quarter and a paltry 70,900 a year ago. ComcastAtHome modem-ready homes passed grew steadily to 9.6 million from second quarter's 8.8 million and 5.5 million a year ago. Subscriptions also grew, to 792,700, compared with 675,600 in second quarter and 367,800 a year ago.

The company reports $1.5 billion in service revenue for the quarter, compared with $1.1 billion a year ago. Operating losses widened to $178.2 million, compared with $56.4 million a year ago. The company's net loss of $106.8 million, or 11 cents a share, compares with net income of $1.25 billion, or $1.37 a share, a year ago.

Separately, Comcast completed its acquisition of the Outdoor Life Network from Fox Cable Networks Group, and made the network a subsidiary. Terms were not disclosed.

Under the deal, Comcast sold its 14.5 percent interest in Speedvision to Fox, also on undisclosed terms.

Finally, Comcast announced an amnesty program for cable thieves in Baltimore City, as well as those in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Harford and Howard counties. The program runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15, and lets residents who are using illegal connections or boxes become customers or cut illegal service with a phone call (888-COMCAST) to Comcast. Those who turn themselves in can do so without questions or prosecution.

Comcast says it's currently conducting a house-to-house electronic audit of its cable system to track down thieves.

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