Video services

Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Jump 23%

Welcome to the cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • The Nielsen Co. was careful not to fan the cord-cutting flames, but its latest Cross Platform Report (PDF, registration required) shows that the number of U.S. homes with broadcast-only TV and broadband jumped 22.8 percent since the third quarter of 2010. Nielsen estimates that there are 5.1 million homes in that category, after 1 million joined in during the 12-month period. However, 90.4 percent of U.S. homes still pay for a TV subscription, with the number of homes paying for both TV and broadband subscriptions rising 5.5 percent. Nielsen also found that homes with broadcast TV-plus-broadband streamed twice as much video as the general cross-platform population, but watched half as much TV. Despite a big gain among a relatively small group of homes that don't pay for TV but subscribe to broadband, Nielsen downplayed the cord-cutting implications: "Whether they're cord-cutters or former broadcast-only homes that upgraded to Internet service, these homes represent a very small but growing group of U.S. consumers."

  • Roku Inc. 's taking orders in the U.K. and Ireland, signaling the company's launch into Europe. The suggested retail price for the Roku LT is £49.99 (US$78.89), with the Roku 2 XS going for £99.99 (US$157.77). Amazon.co.uk is the first to take pre-orders, but Roku expects to announce additional U.K. retailers later this year. In addition to old standbys like Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Roku is also integrating British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) 's iPlayer.

  • Despite Netflix's own fears that Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) will launch a standalone competitor soon, Amazon has no near-term plans to do so, reports NewTeeVee. For now, Amazon says it will stick to bundling its streaming video package into its Prime Instant Video service, which runs for $79 per year, and continue to sell and rent one-off videos to all comers. (See Netflix Bracing for Clash With Amazon .)

  • Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) believes it can turn its Moxi video gateway into a $100 million business as it secures more MSO deals, but the vendor's support for Moxi HD-DVRs sold at retail will come to an end. Arris, which no longer sells boxes at retail, notes here that it will stop sending program data and halt technical support for those devices on Dec. 31, 2013. (Hat tip: @davezatz). (See Arris Expects a Rosy 2012.)

    Update:That date apparently isn't set in stone, but a worst-case scenario. Arris said it will probably end up supporting Moxi retail products beyond December 2013 if there's continued interest from Moxi users. Arris estimates that there are fewer than 5,000 retail Moxi units out there.

  • Optimum Lightpath , Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC)'s big business services arm, has launched a suite of flat-rate Ethernet services tailored for local governments, including E-Line, V-Line and audio and Web conferencing packages. It's already won deals with New Jersey's Wayne and Jefferson townships, and Westchester County in New York.

  • OTT video startup Blip Networks Inc. (it's no longer called Blip.tv) raised $12 million, extending its total funding to $24.5 million. It'll use the infusion to fund content development and beef up its advertising and distribution platforms.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:42:55 PM
    re: Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Jump 23%

    Very literal guys :)

    My point was most of the OTT services are not really targeted at the basic cable stuff, particularly live events.  They are much more after the premium movie channels type stuff.  I know some of that content is available on Netflix so that direct subscription revenues may not be the right thing to measure.  It was why I was asking.  Somebody might look at Basic Cable + Netflix + Internet as a replacement for lots of cable channels, especially if they are going to get Internet Service anyway.  Streaming is nice but HD on a big screen is better for sports.  You could get League Pass or MLB network but I know there are lots of restrictions on most of the packages.



    shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:42:55 PM
    re: Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Jump 23%

    Or, they could go to a bar and watch.

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:42:56 PM
    re: Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Jump 23%

    True, no Super Bowl on Netflix, but anyone with a broadband connection could get it this year.   I don't see any premium network specific data in the Nielsen report, but TW Inc posted q4 results recently and its networks unit , which includes Turner Bcasting and HBO, had a 12% boost in subscription revenues, so they seem to be pretty healthy there.  Liberty Media, Starz's owner, reports later this month. JB


    paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:42:56 PM
    re: Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Jump 23%



    Is there statistics on the premium channels?  I look at Netflix and don't see it competing with broadcast.  Can't watch the Superbowl on Netflix.  But you could dump HBO and Showtime.




    boilermonkey 12/5/2012 | 5:42:56 PM
    re: Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Jump 23%

    The UI is fairly important, as well as aggregation.  That’s why I think the number of cord cutters has been low.  It has been limited to only cost sensitive customers.  If you cut the cord you no longer have the inherent aggregation that cable channels offer.  Instead you have the broadcast channels and then a bunch of different portals and UIs.  Tivo does a good job of offering a single UI that pulls from broadcast, Amazon, Netflix and other content aggregators.  Unfortunately, Tivo's costs and putting up an antenna make it unattractive to some because the payback period is about a year…and most people just don’t want to make the investment and keep paying their monthly bill.  If Smart TVs make the upfront cost lower and the applications are easy to use with good content then it becomes a real threat.    Time to innovate!  -Jeremy Bennington

    shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:42:56 PM
    re: Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Jump 23%

    Can't watch the Superbowl on Netflix.

    North and east of the NYC area, that may actually be a selling point right now.

    boilermonkey 12/5/2012 | 5:42:57 PM
    re: Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Jump 23%

    While the rising Internet TV viewership numbers should stand out to traditional cable companies and programmers, providing platforms to easily consume content on any platform is a requirement these days and not necessarily a business killer. However, two larger issues weighs on traditional cable operators fight to keep viewers, no matter the medium. As alternatives to traditional video become available, quality will improve creating an increase in cord cutting. Additionally, barriers that have kept cord cutting numbers lower are the ability for streaming content to appear on TV with an easy to use interface. The popularity of smart TVs in 2012 will change this. In the end, if traditional cable providers and programmers want to keep pace, there is pressure to innovate user interfaces, create applications for smart TVs and enhance users quality of experience on all mediums. It’s a matter of time, as these stats clearly show, until consumers cut the cord. However, if traditional cable companies innovate with the trend, as they have already begun doing, then a new era of video and TV viewing will truly be upon us. -Jeremy B.

    craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:42:57 PM
    re: Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Jump 23%

    The Nielsen numbers are interesting. Between the insurgence by telcos shown here, and the increase in cord cutters (or nevers or whatever you want to call them), it's easy to see why cable MSOs increasingly are migrating toward all-broadband video delivery. Nielsen's right to downplay the trend at this point, but for traditional cable TV the sand is starting to run through the hourglass.


    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:42:57 PM
    re: Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Jump 23%

    If a sizable portion of these bcast-TV/broadband homes are indeed cord-cutters (versus however many cable TV nevers are in that number) and the reason for it is financially drivenl, then cable, if it cares to hold onto them, will have to do a better job pushing and marketing these new ESPN-free economy tiers since it seems those consumers don't care about ESPN anyway if they are now relying on free over the air  TV.  I'm not sure how much weight some of these folks put into things like the UI.

    But the folks that are moving to satellite TV and telco TV, that might be a different story. Cable will need to do a better job innovating on the video platform (and keep pricing in check) to keep those subs from fleeing to competitive providers.  JB

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