Slow subscriber growth, disappearing customers and costs related to the company’s deal with NBC Universal led to an 8.2% drop in earnings. Comcast said that while its third-quarter operating cash flow rose 7.6% to $3.58 billion in the quarter, its $867 million in profit was down from last year’s 3rd quarter mark of $944 million. The overall 8.2% drop is due, the company said, in large part to one-time fees associated with NBC Universal deal and a softening of the pay-TV market as programming costs rise and more competition emerges from different platforms. But it’s also due to a subscription slow-down — Comcast lost 275,000 subscribers last quarter. While in the past, the reason may have been “cord-cutting” — people finding other ways to access programming (online, mainly) — the company says that’s not the case this time around and that the weak economy is forcing people to outright cancel service. Either way, that’s a lot of subscriptions gone. Despite the drop, the quarter exceeded overall expectations due to revenue growth associated with existing high-end customers (bundling different services). Comcast is aiming to complete its deal for NBC Universal by the end of 2010. Steve Burke, currently the Comcast chief operating officer, has been tapped to run the company.