The Internet is taking over television.
That shift is occurring at Comcast, where the number of people who subscribe to the company’s Internet service surpassed its total video subscribers for the first time during the second quarter this year.
Announced in an earnings call on Monday, the development signals a major turning point in the technological evolution sweeping across the media business, as the Internet becomes the gateway for information and entertainment. Comcast, the country’s largest cable operator, abandoned its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable last month after the deal drew regulatory scrutiny regarding concerns that the combined company would have too much control over the Internet. Comcast is already the country’s largest broadband provider, with more than 22 million high-speed Internet customers.
Brian L. Roberts, Comcast’s chief executive, said in the call that the company was disappointed about the collapse of the deal but had moved on. He said that Comcast’s top priorities now were to advance its existing business and improve its poorly rated customer service.
Some analysts expect the company to start pursuing deals to enlarge its international footprint or expand into the wireless business, but Comcast executives did not reveal any new proposals. Mr. Roberts said that it did not have plans to swap subscribers with other cable operators or increase its footprint in the United States.
“In terms of other things that could come along, I believe we have a very special company and so many different businesses,” Mr. Roberts said. “We’re always open-minded. We’ve always been, however, I think extremely disciplined and focused on building shareholder value. And right now, we’re back to work and there’s nothing that I could think of that we don’t have on our plate that I’m excited about.”
The comments came as Comcast reported a 10 percent increase in earnings in the first quarter, largely because of growth in its high-speed Internet business.
Total revenue inched up 2.6 percent to $17.9 billion during the quarter compared with the period last year, the company said. Without counting sales tied to the 2015 Super Bowl and the 2014 Olympics — both of which were broadcast on NBC, which Comcast owns — revenue increased 7.2 percent during the period.
Net income attributable to Comcast was $2.1 billion for the quarter, up 10 percent from the period last year. Costs related to the Time Warner Cable deal came to $99 million during the first quarter. That brings the total costs related to the transaction to $336 million since the deal was announced in February 2014.
While the business results beat expectations and underscored continued strength in the company’s business, some analysts questioned whether they were enough.
“Over the course of the next year, as Comcast rewrites its own script in the wake of its failed attempt to buy Time Warner Cable, Comcast will craft a new story,” Craig Moffett, a media analyst with MoffettNathanson Research, said in a research note. “In the adrenaline-fix-every-10-minutes world of cable investors, is simply being the ‘best operator with the best assets’ enough?”
First-quarter results in Comcast’s cable group emphasized the growing importance of its broadband business. Revenues in the unit increased to $11.4 billion in the quarter, up 6.3 percent compared with the period last year.
The company added 407,000 high-speed Internet subscribers in the quarter, but lost 8,000 video subscribers. In total, it added 199,000 customers.
At the end of the first quarter, Comcast counted 22.375 million video customers and 22.369 million high-speed Internet customers. The company will report new numbers at the end of the current quarter, when its total for Internet subscribers surpassed video subscribers.
Comcast continues to generate significantly more revenue from its video business than from broadband. Video revenue was $5.3 billion for the quarter, compared with $3 billion for high-speed Internet.
Neil Smit, chief executive of the company’s cable operations, said he thought there was still more room for growth in broadband. “We believe we’re increasing share, and the market is growing,” he said, adding that the company uses broadband service as a way to get its foot in the door with new customers, then markets new services to them.
Revenue in the company’s NBCUniversal entertainment group tumbled 4 percent during the quarter to $6.6 billion driven by the Super Bowl and the box-office hit “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Subtracting for sales tied to the 2015 Super Bowl and 2014 Winter Olympics, revenue increased 7.9 percent to $6.2 billion.
The Super Bowl generated $376 million in revenue. Revenue at the theme parks increased 33.7 percent, fueled by the Harry Potter attraction at Comcast’s park in Orlando, Fla.