& cplSiteName &

Cablevision Looks to Data as Great Savior

Alan Breznick
8/7/2014
50%
50%

Battered by intense competition from Verizon FiOS, Cablevision Systems is increasingly viewing broadband and WiFi services as its great savior.

On their second-quarter earnings call Tuesday, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) executives spoke extensively about their plans to refashion the fifth-largest US cable operator as a "connectivity" company. With the MSO continuing to shed video subscribers to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s FiOS and other rivals, they emphasized that broadband services, not video services, offer the true promise for future growth.

"We see the data product as more important than the video product to the customer right now," Cablevision CEO James Dolan proclaimed. "It's connectivity that the consumer really wants."

Consequently, Cablevision officials are focusing on boosting broadband speeds, improving service quality and rapidly expanding their WiFi network throughout the greater New York metro area. Just last week the company announced that it had expanded its Optimum WiFi network to more than 1 million hotspots, largely through the deployment of new, dual-band "smart WiFi" routers in residential broadband customers' homes.

As he has before, Dolan said that Cablevision plans to leverage its blossoming WiFi network to deliver new revenue-generating products and services to customers. But, as on past earnings calls, he declined to disclose what the MSO will offer and when it will start doing so. Instead, he indicated that the eventual offerings will encompass both fast transmission speeds and high quality-of-service.

"We have a strategic advantage there, one we have not gone out and exploited," he said. "But I think you can anticipate that we will… I think you should look for Cablevision to actually lead the way."


For more of Light Reading's coverage of cable WiFi services, visit our cable WiFi content channel.


But, if Cablevision is counting on broadband to save the day, it will need to do better than it did in the second quarter. In contrast with most major US MSOs, the company reported losing 9,000 high-speed data subscribers, after adding 8,000 in the first quarter. As a result, the company closed June 30 with 2.779 million broadband subs, down slightly from a year ago.

Cablevision actually suffered subscriber losses across the board in the spring quarter, which is traditionally the worst for most cable operators because of seasonal moves. Besides the 9,000 lost broadband customers, it shed 21,000 video customers and 7,000 voice customers, pushing its total residential customers down 21,000 to 3.165 million, as FiOS aggressively promoted triple-play packages for about $70 a month.

Notably, even with the broadband sub loss, Cablevision now has more data customers than video customers, due to its heavier losses on the video side. It thus joins New York neighbor Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Charter Communications Inc. as the major US MSOs with more broadband subs than video subs. (See Cable Broadband Surpassing Video: Moody's.)

Despite the latest damage wrought by FiOS, Cablevision officials vowed to maintain their relatively new "disciplined pricing" strategy and not match FiOS discounts. They also vowed not to engage in an upstream speed war with Verizon, which just began rolling out symmetrical download and upload speeds for all of FiOS's speed tiers. Instead, they said, they will keep their maximum upload speed at its current 35Mbit/s level, at least for now.

"I have no interest in chasing that dog down the track," said Wilt Hildenbrand, senior advisor, customer care, technology and networks for Cablevision. But, he noted, "we have some bullets left in the gun."

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(10)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2014 | 4:47:39 PM
Re: Competition
..."they must have some secret customer strategy they hope surely will keep them going."

I think it's probably called "Dolan waits for a sale to Comcast, Cox or Charter in a few years." 
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2014 | 4:34:43 PM
Re: Competition
One wonders what the magic bullet might be for Cablevision. As pointed out, "Cablevision officials vowed to maintain their relatively new "disciplined pricing" strategy and not match FiOS discounts. They also vowed not to engage in an upstream speed war with Verizon."

If they're not chasing the competition, they must have some secret customer strategy they hope surely will keep them going.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2014 | 3:04:14 PM
Re: Competition
Yes, I thought that was curious as well.

They've historically steered clear of data caps, but this executive team seems like the sorts that would be very interested in monetizing usage once cord cutting accelerates and people inevitably begin trimming digital voice products in broader scale as wireless call quality improves with VoLTE.
cnwedit
50%
50%
cnwedit,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/7/2014 | 3:01:34 PM
Re: Competition
Cablevision was a pioneer on many fronts -- they fought the network DVR battle, for instance. It's both puzzling and sad now that they seem to be still saying the right things but not backing up the big talk. 

And hearing anyone talk about monetizing WiFi without saying EXACTLY how is always a red flag for me. 
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2014 | 2:48:59 PM
Re: Competition
It's unfortunate to see, because Cablevision used to lead the market in terms of pushing the speed and service envelope. Early on they were a real innovation pioneer, and I saw customers reward them for it. They've made it very clear in recent years they're simply not competitively pressured (or interested) to move on speed or price.
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2014 | 2:44:19 PM
Re: Me 'n Guitar Jimmy
Big talk about broadbands potential from Cablevision, but as a Brooklyn resident in their territory I still see that all their promotions are for triple play and zero effort targeting broadband only or broadband+voice.
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2014 | 2:44:11 PM
Re: Me 'n Guitar Jimmy
Given that internet access drives almost everything now, it seems like a better measurement as well.  Another thought is to list internet only, video only, and combined thereby being able to get a true picture of total subscribers.  To be extremely accurate add those who also get voice services to the mix. The world is certainly not just video subs any more.
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2014 | 2:42:22 PM
Re: Competition
@kbode I think that your last sentence is the true summary...not much in the way of true competition.  To look at the Optimum website they seem convinced that they are not only competitive for features, including speed, but also price.  Hmmm...I wonder how their customers feel?
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2014 | 11:26:23 AM
Me 'n Guitar Jimmy
I don't like admitting this, but I agree completely with James Dolan on the need for a massive shift in emphasis from video subs to broadband. The irony though is that it's content owners like Cablevision (through MSG and other properties) that are making video service less and less attractive for operators. And that's not even factoring in the damage inflicted on the Knicks and Rangers over the past 15 or so years.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2014 | 10:32:09 AM
Competition
They won't boost speeds to match their primary competitor. They're also now refusing to seriously compete on price with their primary competitor.

Ah, U.S. broadband competition, where you get to have that choice (aka not very much actual competition at all).
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Huawei Videos
The Power of Next-Gen Unified Communications

8|23|17   |   04:46   |   (0) comments


How Huawei's unified communications and videoconferencing platforms are saving time and money and improving customer experience for users in Italy.
LRTV Documentaries
Phone Review: Moto Z2 Play

8|22|17   |   1:54   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Mobile Editor Dan Jones reviews the Moto Z2 Play, which he calls 'a nice modern Android phone with good battery life and one of the nicest cameras' he's seen. The Moto Z2 Play is a Gigabit LTE-ready phone, but we were not able to test speeds that fast in the US.
LRTV Documentaries
Three Gets Smart(y), BT Invokes Twitter – The Recap

8|21|17   |     |   (0) comments


From Telecoms.com, a recap of the week's telecoms talking points. It's been a week of gimmicks as Three tests out a pay-as-you-go sub-brand called Smarty; Comcast
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment


It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment


Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment


In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Why AT&T May Dump Home Security Biz
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/21/2017
Verizon & Friends Bust Through Gigabit LTE in the Lab
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/21/2017
WiCipedia: Dolly Babes, Manifesto Backlash & 'Brotastic' Failures
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/18/2017
Disney, iflix Team Up to Take Down Netflix
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 8/22/2017
AT&T Spreads Fiber & G.fast Wings
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/22/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
Talk About a Custom-Made Workstation! Click Here
Proper ergonomics indeed.
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.