Video services

Comcast Sheds 37K Video Subs in Q1

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) got 2012 off to a good start as North America's largest MSO posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings Wednesday, keeping video subscriber losses in check while gaining in other service categories. (See Comcast Posts $1.22B Profit in Q1 .)

While some analysts were expecting Comcast to post a rare gain in basic video subs, it wasn't to be, as the operator lost 37,000 customers in the category, giving it 22.29 million at the end of the period. But the MSO continued to narrow the gap; it lost 39,000 basic video subs in the year-ago quarter. (See Will Comcast (Gasp!) Add Video Subs in Q1?)

Comcast posted gains just about everywhere else. It added 439,000 high-speed customers compared with 418,000 a year earlier, extending that total to 18.58 million. Digital voice continued to grow, but at a slower pace than last year, as Comcast added 164,000 subs compared with 260,000 in the year-ago period. Comcast ended the quarter with 9.5 million digital voice customers.

With all categories tabulated, Comcast added 565,000 video, high-speed Internet and voice subs in the quarter.

Comcast posted a first-quarter profit of US$1.22 billion (45 cents per share) on revenues of $14.9 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year. Analysts were expecting a profit of 42 cents on revenues of $14.4 billion.

Business services remained a rising star, as Comcast pulled in $541 million in revenues in the category, compared with $394 million a year earlier.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:34:27 PM
re: Comcast Sheds 37K Video Subs in Q1

While the headline hangs on losing analog video customers, I think what really matters here the 400K+ high-speed broadband subscribers the company gained in the quarter. Five percent growth in what I would think is a saturated market is interesting. I wonder how many of those came from DSL customers who jumped to cable for more bandwidth?



AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:34:25 PM
re: Comcast Sheds 37K Video Subs in Q1

Some of the adds may have come from the Internet Essentials program. In Jan, Comcast expanded eligibility (to reduced-cost school lunch households, beyond just free) that increased the pool by 300k hhs to a total of 2.3m. 

AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:34:24 PM
re: Comcast Sheds 37K Video Subs in Q1

They launched Internet Essentials at the start of last school year and by Dec said they were delivering to some 42k families. Kind of a question of how many of those 2.3m hhs they are able to serve, but it could begin to add up. As Phil noted, the overall market is saturated. 

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:34:24 PM
re: Comcast Sheds 37K Video Subs in Q1 <div>

This is the year that got off the ground, but i'd be surprised if it made much of a dent on the overall adds. The primary source of the broadband gains didn't get come up on the call, but would make sense that they continued to hammer on DSL.&nbsp; Even when Comcast offered the Clearwire product, they noted that those WiMax subs (the few that they got) tended to be DSL converts. JB

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:34:23 PM
re: Comcast Sheds 37K Video Subs in Q1

Right, they did start to get this rolling a bit earlier than I stated... but it was in the majority of the markets by the start of this school year. I'd have to get an update from them on how many families had qualified and been signed up for the program. But I'd still guess that most adds are coming from DSL... and if the market is&nbsp;indeed saturated I imagin that's where they'll have&nbsp;to continue to&nbsp;go to sustain&nbsp;this&nbsp;sort of growth.&nbsp;JB

AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:34:21 PM
re: Comcast Sheds 37K Video Subs in Q1

Bernstein Research has Comcast adding 2x as many bb subs as AT&amp;T and Verizon combined, on a footprint 1/2 as large. So there's certainly market share gain. Your first comment about not much of a dent from Internet Essentials is probably close the mark, Jeff. I'm guestimating &lt; 5% of annual adds at current rate.

opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 5:34:21 PM
re: Comcast Sheds 37K Video Subs in Q1

The market is saturated? I thought AT&amp;T and Verizon greatly slowed down their Uverse/FIOS buildouts a couple of years ago, long before saturating their markets. That would leave all their low-bandwidth DSL customers ripe for the picking.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:34:19 PM
re: Comcast Sheds 37K Video Subs in Q1


FiOS was completely built out from an OLT standpoint some time ago. &nbsp;All that is left is to sell ONTs/subs.


joanengebretson 12/5/2012 | 5:34:18 PM
re: Comcast Sheds 37K Video Subs in Q1

I already heard a radio ad for Comcast and Verizon Wireless's cross-marketing promotions in Chicago, where the deals were just launched on Monday.

It will be interesting to see what impact those cross-marketing deals have on Comcast's broadband and video sales the next time the company does its earnings call.

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