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By Helen Coster and Eva Mathews
Jan 27 (Reuters) - Comcast Corp's fourth-quarter revenue beat Wall Street expectations on Thursday, driven by growth in its NBCUniversal division, which saw visitors return to its theme parks.
Total revenue rose 9.5% to $30.34 billion in the quarter, beating analysts' average estimate of $29.61 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Comcast's cable business is the biggest contributor to its overall revenue. The company posted a 4.5% rise in cable revenue to $16.41 billion. It grew overall cable customer relationships including broadband, video, voice and other services 3.3% to 34.2 million accounts.
However, it only gained 212,000 broadband customers in the latest quarter, down 60.6% from the same period last year, when the company benefited from demand as the pandemic caused people to work from and seek entertainment at home.
Comcast's NBCUniversal media unit saw a 25.6% rise in revenue, driven by a recovery in the company's theme parks division. Revenue at the theme parks division grew 191.3% from the same quarter last year, despite the lack of international travelers to U.S. parks, because of heavy domestic attendance.
The theme parks division had the most profitable fourth quarter in NBCUniversal's history because domestic tourists spent more when they visited.
Theme parks revenue amounted to $1.89 billion during the quarter, compared with $648 million a year ago, when stay-at-home orders crippled the business.
The company reported that its Peacock streaming service had 24.5 million monthly active U.S. accounts at the end of the year, up from over 20 million at the end of July. Comcast defines that metric as the number of households that watched content on Peacock during the month.
Net income attributable to Comcast fell to $3.06 billion, or 66 cents per share in the fourth quarter, from $3.38 billion or 73 cents per share, a year earlier. (Reporting by Helen Coster in New York and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)