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Internet, movies bolster Comcast’s bottom line

Tali Arbel Associated Press

NEW YORK – Despite a slowdown in subscriber growth, the Internet is still propelling Comcast.

The movies and theme parks in its NBCUniversal entertainment unit also bolstered results in the quarter.

The country’s largest cable company added 180,000 Internet customers in the April-June quarter, the smallest gain in at least two years. That brings its total Internet subscribers to 22.6 million.

Comcast’s Internet customers surpassed its cable customers for the first time. The company finished June down 69,000 TV customers, to with 22.3 million.

Fears about a larger Comcast’s dominance of the high-speed Internet market led to the downfall in April of its deal to acquire Time Warner Cable.

Regulators worried Comcast could undermine online video competitors by controlling how they reached customers.

Comcast this month announced an Internet video service of its own – Stream – that will include broadcast channels and HBO for $15 a month.

Stream has limitations. It’s only for Comcast Internet customers and, unlike Dish Network’s Sling TV, shows most live content only inside a customer’s home network.

To watch anything outside your home you have to log in to an individual channel’s app on a mobile device, the same as a cable TV customer can do, or use Stream’s DVR service.

Comcast is launching Stream as online TV options that don’t require a cable subscription proliferate, while cable and satellite TV subscribers start to slip. Channels such as Lifetime, Showtime, CBS and HBO have launched online services. Sling TV gives you a “skinny bundle” of about 20 channels for $20 a month. Verizon is working on a mobile TV service expected to launch this summer.

These come amid growing consolidation in TV companies. Regulators are expected to soon approve AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV, while Charter Communications wants to buy Time Warner Cable.

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