Telco TV Payback?

1:45 PM -- Early indications suggest that telco TV providers are returning the favor to their nemesis cable competitors. For the past few years, cable companies have been sticking it to phone companies, evidenced by an accelerating decline in total telephone access lines for most phone companies.

Many of those declines were courtesy of cable's triple-play prowess. Are the tides beginning to turn?

Consider the most recent quarterly results of several companies. Both Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) had solid quarters for video and broadband growth. In fact, Verizon had its best quarter on record for net new FiOS TV and broadband adds. Additionally, wireline losses, while still significant, did slow for both in 4Q08.

Not bad.

Contrast that with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)'s 4Q08 results. TWC witnessed significant declines in growth for just about every metric, including digital video, broadband, and voice, and registered a net loss of $13.9 billion (which included a $14.8 billion impairment charge).

It's certainly too early to declare a definitive shift in the triple-play war towards telcos. But the battle looks to be getting a little more interesting.

— Bernardin Arnason, Managing Partner, Pivot Group , and Chairman, TelcoTV 2008

bigggtom 12/5/2012 | 4:12:23 PM
re: Telco TV Payback? And to think that this battle was all started by John Malone more than fifteen years ago when he wrote an article declaring that cable companies would soon be running telephone companies out of business. He argued that cable, with the vast bandwidth of coax compared to the 9.6Kbps limit for twisted pairs, would sound the death noll for telephone.

I'm so proud of the ingenuity of all my brothers in the telephone business. Now we've got them on the run, squeezing HD down to 15Mbps and tryng to convince their subscribers that they are better. Unlike SD, which is like having really bad eyesight, HD takes nothing more than a good pair of peepers to realize the difference.

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