Latest US Media Financials: Comcast, Martha Stewart

03 November 2003

• Leading US cable operator Comcast has posted third-quarter net profits of $3.1 billion (€2.7bn; £1.8bn).

The Q3 earnings were a huge leap from the $76 million reported last year, though they do include $3.2bn from the sale of the company's stake in shopping channel QVC.

Revenues – adjusted to account for the purchase of AT&T Broadband last November – increased 8.8% to $4.55bn. This was, however, slightly down on expectations of $4.6bn.

Comcast reported a fall in the number of basic cable customers in Q3, though it also managed to gain 473,000 new broadband internet subscribers – a quarterly record.

• Meanwhile, the legal troubles of fallen US homemaking guru Martha Stewart continue to hit profits at her media and merchandising firm – though less so than analysts expected.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia posted a net loss of $3.8m in the third quarter, a far smaller shortfall than predicted. But this is still a marked decline on the $2.8m profit posted in Q3 2002, with sales tumbling 29% year-on-year to $51.2m.

MSLO believes it will return to profitability in the fourth quarter, but admits it may suffer in January when Stewart appears in court on charges relating to an insider trading scandal at biotech firm ImClone.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff