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Comcast has finally become an Internet-first company

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
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Comcast may have begun as a television provider that later tacked on an Internet business, but now those positions have finally reversed: The company now has more broadband customers than it does TV subscribers.

The margin is slim, about 22.5 million Internet subscribers to 22.3 million video customers. But the flip, which was reported in Comcast's latest earnings, provides further evidence that Internet access, not traditional television, represents the industry's future. Here are the raw numbers from Comcast (click to embiggen):

On a conference call with investors Thursday, Comcast said it had successfully stemmed some of the losses in its video business. And that's true: it only lost 69,000 TV subscribers in the last quarter, compared to 144,000 in the same quarter last year. Comcast also saw a modest increase in double-play subscriptions.

But that doesn't alter the industry's broader trajectory toward broadband, as the tremendous growth in Internet subscribers seems to indicate. When you add in Comcast's huge successes in its NBCUniversal division — theme-park and movie revenues were the real star this past quarter — it makes the company's television segment look that much smaller.