(Reuters) - Comcast Corp posted higher quarterly profit on Wednesday, driven by strength on the cable side of the business.

The leading U.S. cable television provider, which also owns broadcaster NBC Universal, posted first-quarter profit of $1.4 billion, or 54 cents a share, up from $1.22 billion, or 45 cents a year ago.

Excluding revenue from Comcast's sale of spectrum, the company posted earnings of 51 per share and beat analyst estimates by a penny.

While the cable unit lost a worse-than-expected 60,000 customers, it added 433,000 high-speed Internet customers, slightly more than the 432,000 that analysts, on average, expected, according to StreetAccount. Analysts looked for Comcast to lose 29,000 video customers, according to Street Account.

Revenue at NBC Universal rose 2.4 percent year over to $5.4 billion. Operating cash flow at the broadcast television unit NBC was negative $14 million, better than a year ago, when it was negative $35 million.

Comcast said in February it had clinched full control of NBC Universal by buying out General Electric Co's stake for $16.7 billion.

Revenue at Comcast rose 3 percent to $15.31 billion. Analysts, on average, expected of $15.38 billion.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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