& 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
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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.
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (1) comment


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BT’s Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
LRTV Custom TV
Drivers & Potential of NGP

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


ETSI has created an Industry Specification Group to work on Next Generation Protocols (NGP ISG), looking at evolving communications and networking protocols to provide the scale, security, mobility and ease of deployment required for the connected society of the 21st century. The NGP ISG will identify the requirements for next generation protocols and network ...
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei IP 2020 for Future Networks

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Future Networks should satisfy many requirements such as high throughput, extremely low latency, flexible mobility, intrinsic security, networking automation, and so forth. The Chief Architect of Huawei Future Networks addresses a holistic solution, i.e., IP 2020, to achieve these requirements for various future life scenarios (e.g., autonomous driving, tactile ...
LRTV Custom TV
Digital Object Architecture

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Digital Object Architecture provides a basic information infrastructure that can facilitate interoperability between or among different systems, processes, and other information resources, including different identity management systems. Digital objects are networked objects that are named by digital object identifiers and instantiated by an infrastructure service ...
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
Apple Seeds 5G? Seeks 'Multi-Gigabit' Chip Designer
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice Plans FTTH for Entire US Footprint
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/30/2016
WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 12/2/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.