Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) expects revenues to be up 9% this year, and 2% by the end of 2013 due to better penetration of bundled products, including video, data and voice. The media giant combined with NBC Universal in 2011 and is now a highly diversified cable and broadcasting company, which has also added to its services segment by widening its footprint in the ad industry.
The media company has managed to mitigate its churn rate, losing only 117,000 subscribers in 3Q, compared to 165,000 for 3Q 2011. Third quarter revenue also grew 15% and operating cash flow expanded 10% on a year over year basis. With close to $10.3 billion in cash, Comcast has the potential to raise its dividend – yielding 1.8% – while continuing strategic acquisitions.
Investments in direct sales have also helped the media company to target new customers, where a new retention policy is boosting conversion to higher-tier services. Last quarter’s average revenue per user came in at over $150, up 9% year over year.
Comcast managed to add 100,000 advance service customers and now serves a fourth of the U.S.’s pay TV households. The company sports one of the media industry’s best EBITDA margins (33%) and a solid balance sheet – a debt ratio of 24%. Billionaire Ken Fisher took a new stake in Comcast worth over 11 million shares last quarter (check out Ken Fisher’s top picks).
Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC), meanwhile, pays the highest dividend of the five media stocks listed at 2.4% – a payout of only 30%. Although Time Warner appears cheap with a forward P/E of 14x, the company has a relatively low 5-year earnings growth rate (13%), and a high debt ratio of 55%. On the bright side, Ken Griffin, founder of Citadel Investment Group, upped his stake by over 250% last quarter (check out Ken Griffin’s latest picks).
News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) has strong appreciative potential following an expected spin-off in 2013. This media stock pays a rather low dividend yield (0.7%), but its low forward P/E (13x) and above-average EPS growth rate (15%) makes News Corp one of Comcast’s top competitors on the investing front.
How does Comcast compare, then, to two other media giants?