& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
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?   
From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
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 Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom on what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia Introduces Virtual Service Router for More Rapid Service

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


James Cumming, product line manager for virtualized service routers at Nokia, demonstrates how the virtual router based off the Nokia ecosystem changes the network function experience.
LRTV Custom TV
The Keys to SD-WAN Success

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa Networks CEO Kelly Ahuja talks about the key requirements for service provider-managed SD-WANs.
LRTV Custom TV
Intel & Cisco on Joint 5G Solutions

4|5|17   |     |   (0) comments


Dave Ward, SVP and CTO of Cisco, is joined by Sandra Rivera, corporate VP and general manager of network platforms group of Intel, on the revolutionary 5G technology that changes networking and computing fundamentally.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
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
Time for a Telecom Reboot
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 4/19/2017
Comcast Ready for Clash With Hulu
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/18/2017
Unlicensed: It's What's Next for US Mobile Operators
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/19/2017
Verizon's Fiber Spend Won't End With Corning
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
Now That's an Ad Campaign Click Here
Meerkats to the rescue!
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.