Light Reading
The largest US MSO reports quarterly video subscriber gains for the first time since 2007 as it steps up deployment of a next-gen IP video platform.

Comcast Breaks Video Sub Skid

Alan Breznick
1/28/2014
50%
50%

Who cares about Time Warner Cable when you're adding video customers again?

Brushing aside press reports that it's negotiating with Charter Communications Inc. to divvy up Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)'s cable systems, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) reported Tuesday morning that it gained 43,000 video subscribers in the fourth quarter. That marks the first time in nearly seven years that Comcast has added video customers in a quarter, ending a losing streak of 26 quarters. (See Comcast May Join Charter Team.)

Even with the fourth-quarter gain, Comcast lost 305,000 video customers for the year, continuing its annual downward trend to a total of 21.7 million. But that's still a 10% improvement; the company lost 336,000 video customers in 2012 and even more in prior years.

Delighted with the results, Comcast executives said they see a video turnaround gathering steam. They said the MSO improved its video results despite increased competition in its footprint from such fiber-fed telco services as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s U-verse.

"I think it'll take a while before we go positive for the year," Comcast Cable president and CEO Neil Smit said during an upbeat earnings call with financial analysts. "But we think we'll be competing well on both the fiber side and the satellite side."

As part of the video turnaround strategy, Comcast is counting heavily on its next-gen IP video platform, X1. With the cloud-based programming guide and user interface now rolled out throughout its footprint, the MSO is accelerating plans to offer X1 and later versions to more than half its video customers over the next few years. Currently, X1's availability is limited to triple-play subscribers and a few double-play subscribers.

"We're very pleased with the early customer feedback" on X1, Comcast vice chairman and CFO Michael Angelakis said during the call. Citing various company metrics, he and Smit said X1 subscribers are purchasing notably more video-on-demand titles and watching more on-demand programming than other video customers. They are signing up for DVR service and triple-play bundles more frequently than other video subs, and they are cutting the video cord less often.

Comcast officials are also speeding up plans to upgrade the growing X1 customer base to the more advanced X2 guide through a software download. Smit said all X1 customers will soon receive the software upgrade to X2, which enables more personalized search and navigation capabilities. (See Comcast Gears Up for X2 Push.)

Smit also confirmed press reports that Comcast is talking to Cox Communications Inc. about licensing the X1 guide to Cox for its use. Smit said the two companies are "exploring opportunities" for Cox to use components of X1 in its own next-gen programming guide.

Comcast officials have been seeking to offer a white-label version of X1 to other cable operators for a while. On the company's last earnings call in late October, Smit said a number of MSOs (which he would not name) had expressed interest in the idea. (See Comcast Spreads IP Video Love.)

Despite shedding more than 300,000 video subscribers for the year, Comcast reported video revenue increases because of across-the-board price hikes for video subscriptions and increased uptake of advanced services like HDTV and DVR. Video revenue rose 2.3% for the quarter to $5.1 billion and 2.9% for the year to $20.5 billion. Fourth-quarter monthly revenue per video sub climbed 6.8% from a year earlier to $164.

With 44% of video customers subscribing to three services (versus 40% previously), Comcast executives said they will keep the emphasis on generating more revenue from their best customers. "Going forward, we're very focused on high-value subscribers," Smit said.

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

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
1/30/2014 | 11:23:41 PM
Break out the champagne
So they're breaking out the champagne in downtown Philly over this news. And it is a big deal. Now the question is whether it's a fluke or the beginning of a longer-term trend. Much will depend on the success of X1, X2, and their brethren. Are you betting for or against Comcast on this one?   
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IHS Analyst Discusses eLTE at CCW 2014

9|10|14   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Thomas Lynch, associate director of critical communications at IHS Technology, talks about broadband in critical communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TCAA on Huawei eLTE: A Broadband Solution for Mission-Critical Communications

9|10|14   |   2:29   |   (0) comments


At CCW2014 in Singapore, the TCCA's Phil Kidner talks about the importance of broadband data for critical communications.
LRTV Custom TV
Spotlight on Cisco: SDN for Optical Networks

9|8|14   |   9:27   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Greg Nehib talks OpenFlow and more on the 'Software-Defined Networking for Optical Networks' panel at the Big Telecom Event in June 2014.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network (EPN)

9|8|14   |   4:05   |   (0) comments


A look at the various demos Cisco showed at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event highlighting Cisco's EPN innovation and how SDN and NFV technologies are enabling a variety of new services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Future of Ultra-Broadband, With Kevin Kelly (UBBF2014)

9|5|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


If you think the technological changes we've seen up to now are astounding, just wait until you see what the future has in store. Discuss upcoming breakthroughs with Kevin Kelly, Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, at the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum on September 24.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Inaugural Optical Innovation Forum in Nice

9|2|14   |     |   (0) comments


More than 170 attendees from network operators, service providers, analyst firms, and component companies from around the world convened in Nice in June for the inaugural Optical Innovation Forum, co-produced by Huawei and Light Reading.
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Introducing 'The New IP'
Stephen Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/11/2014
AT&T to Launch WiFi Calling in 2015
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/12/2014
Is Rackspace the Best Next Move for CenturyLink?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 9/9/2014
Nokia Jumps Into 4G Small Cell Mosh Pit
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 9/8/2014
T-Mobile Accuses Huawei of Espionage
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/9/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed