Verizon Widens Q2 Fios TV Sub Loss 37%

Verizon Aug. 1 disclosed it lost 52,000 Fios TV subscribers in the second quarter, ended June 30. That compared with a loss of 38,000 pay-TV subs in the previous-year period.

Through the first six months of the fiscal year, Verizon has shed 107,000 video subs, which is up 75% from a sub loss of 61,000 subs during the previous-year period.

The wireless carrier ended the period with 4.27 million Fios TV subs — down 217,000 subs since last year as consumers migrate to alternative distribution channels, including over-the-top video.

At the same time, Verizon saw high-speed Internet subscription growth declined 22% to 28,000 from growth of 36,000 last year. Through June 30, the carrier has 76,000 broadband subs – down 22% from the addition of 98,000 subs last year.

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Verizon ended the period with 5.83 million Fios Internet connections, which was up 3.1% from 5.66 million connections last year.

Separately, Verizon continues to promote 5G wireless network mobility.

The carrier July 31 rolled out 5G networks in Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. The cities followed similar 5G functionality launches in Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Providence, R.I., and St. Paul, Minn.

“Verizon made history this quarter by becoming the first carrier in the world to launch 5G mobility,” CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement. “We are focused on optimizing our next-generation networks and enhancing the customer experience while we head into the second half of the year with great momentum.”

Report: Pay-TV Providers Lost 1.3 Million Subs in Q1

It was a bad quarter for the pay-TV business.

New data from Leichtman Research Group found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. — representing about 95% of the market — lost more than 1.3 million video subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31) — up 426% from a net loss of 305,000 subs in the previous-year period.

Pay-TV providers now account for about 87.8 million subscribers — with the top six cable companies having 46.7 million video subscribers, satellite TV services (28.3 million subs), telephone companies (8.9 million), and the top publicly reporting online TV with 3.9 million subs.

Satellite TV services such as Dish Network and DirecTV drove pay-TV losses with about 810,000 subs dropping service compared to a loss of about 375,000 subs in the previous-year period.

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Cable operators lost about 335,000 video subs — compared to a loss of about 285,000 subs last year. Telephone providers lost 105,000 video subs, up from a loss of 50,000 subs last year.  Online TV services lost 75,000 subs, compared to a gain of 405,000 subs last year.

Notably, AT&T had a loss of about 625,000 subs across its three pay-TV services (DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, and DirecTV Now) compared to a gain of 125,000 subscribers in 2018.

“The leading pay-TV provider in the U.S., AT&T, accounted for 47% of the net losses in the quarter,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “[The quarter] was the third consecutive [period] of record pay-TV net losses.  This accelerated downturn in the pay-TV market coincided with the decisions by AT&T and other providers to increasingly focus on long-term profitability when acquiring and retaining subscribers.”

 

Pay-TV Providers Subscribers at end of 1Q 2019 Net Adds in 1Q 2019
Cable Companies
Comcast 21,866,000 (120,000)
Charter 16,461,000 (145,000)
Cox 3,980,000 (35,000)
Altice 3,297,300 (10,200)
Mediacom 764,000 (12,000)
Cable ONE 320,611 (11,500)
Total Top Cable 46,688,911 (333,700)
Satellite Services (DBS)
DirecTV 18,679,000 (543,000)
Dish Network 9,639,000 (266,000)
Total DBS 28,318,000 (809,000)
Phone Companies
Verizon FiOS 4,398,000 (53,000)
AT&T U-verse 3,704,000 0
Frontier 784,000 (54,000)
Total Top Phone 8,886,000 (107,000)
Online TV
Sling TV 2,424,000 7,000
DirecTV Now 1,508,000 (83,000)
Total Top Online TV 3,932,000 (76,000)
Total Top Providers 87,824,911 (1,325,700)

 

 

Verizon and Google Partner for YouTube TV Access

Faced with no proprietary over-the-top video offerings, Verizon April 23 announced a partnership with Google to bring YouTube TV to Verizon subscribers across all platforms, including Fios TV and pending 5G.

YouTube TV is a standalone online TV service that just raised its monthly subscription price to $49.99 from $39.99.

“As we pave the path forward on 5G, we’ll continue to bring our customers options and access to premium content by teaming up with the best providers in the industry and leveraging our network as-a service strategy,” Erin McPherson, head of content strategy and acquisition at Verizon.

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The partnership affords both wireless mobility and Fios broadband subs to stream YouTube TV. Verizon will also offer YouTube TV promotions to customers across platforms.

“With this partnership, we’re making it simple and seamless for Verizon’s customers to sign up to enjoy YouTube TV on-the-go on their mobile phones or tablets or at home on their big screen devices,” said Heather Rivera, global head of product partnerships at YouTube.

YouTube TV offers cable-free live TV that can be watched on any screen (phone, tablet, TV, computer). It includes more than 70 networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, in addition to cable networks HGTV, Food Network, TNT, TBS, CNN, ESPN, FX and on-demand programming.

A YouTube TV membership includes six accounts per household, each with its own unique recommendations and personal DVR with no storage space limits.

Verizon More Than Doubles Q1 Video Subscriber Losses

Verizon dreams of a 5G future while stuck in pay-TV reality.

The nation’s largest wireless carrier April 23 reported it lost 53,000 Fios TV subscribers in the first quarter, ended March 31. That compared to a loss of 22,000 video subs in the previous-year period.

Verizon ended the period with 4.39 million Fios TV subs compared to 4.59 million subs last year — down 199,000 net subs, or 4.3% from 2018.

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The company attributed the decline to ongoing consumer migration away from linear pay-TV to over-the-top video platforms.

While Verizon Internet connections increased 3.4% to 6.1 million from 5.9 million, broadband connections fell nearly 19% to 854,000.

The company ended the period with 6.97 million broadband connections, up 0.1% from 6.96 million subs last year.

Separately, Verizon Media, which includes Yahoo!, HuffPost, TechCrunch, Engadget, Makers and other brands, saw revenue drop more than 7% to $1.8 billion – largely due to declines in desktop advertising revenue offsetting gains in mobile ads.

Regardless, CEO Hans Vestberg touted Verizon’s “leadership” position in 4G and ongoing “innovation” in 5G wireless technology.

Rollout of branded OTT video products remains notably absent following last year’s $1 billion write-down of Go90, Verizon’s short-lived mobile video app.

“We are leading the world in the development of new technologies with the launch of our 5G network,” Vestberg said in a statement. “Our ambition remains unchanged to provide the most advanced next-generation networks in the world.”

 

Sprint Calls Out AT&T Over ‘False’ 5G Claims

Next-generation 5G wireless technology continues to get a lot of attention (and hype) — notably as an enhanced distribution channel for mobile video entertainment.

AT&T and Verizon have been among the first wireless carriers offering 5G networks in the country. AT&T last December said it become the first telecom in the United States offering 5G wireless service over a commercial, standards-based mobile 5G network.

Indeed, consumer awareness of the fifth-generation wireless technology successor has reached mainstream, according to new data from The NPD Group.

Yet, 5G is still more marketing than reality. Availability of 5G-compatible phones to consumers might occur by the end of the year — with mainstream usage on par with 4G LTE years away, according to analysts.

That’s why Sprint is calling foul on AT&T regarding what it claims are false advertising and deceptive acts by the corporate parent to WarnerMedia to confuse consumers.

Sprint, which claims to have 54.5 million subscribers and is attempting merge with T-Mobile, took out a full-page ad in the March 10 edition of The New York Times accusing AT&T of allegedly deceiving consumers into believing that their existing 4G LTE network operates on a much-coveted and highly anticipated 5G network.

A recent survey commissioned by Sprint found 54% of consumers mistakenly believed, based on AT&T’s claims, that the company’s 5G E network is the same as or better than a true 5G network. Another 43% of consumers wrongly believed that if they were to purchase an AT&T phone today, it would be capable of running on a 5G network.

“AT&T is not offering its customers 5G but is delighted by the confusion they’ve caused with their deceptive ‘5G E’ marketing and attempt to convince consumers that they’ve already won the 5G race,” David Tovar, SVP, corporate communications, at Sprint said in a statement. “We’re not standing for this kind of deception, and neither should consumers.”

Indeed, Sprint filed a federal lawsuit asking that AT&T’s ads be stopped.

“Every carrier – every company – should tell consumers the truth and be held accountable for the promises they make,” Tovar said.

An AT&T representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.

 

 

 

 

House Democrats Seek to Reinstate ‘Net Neutrality’ Legislation

House Democrats in Congress reportedly plan to unveil legislation aimed at restoring net neutrality guidelines mandating Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all traffic on the Web equally.

The legislation, which would ban ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from blocking/slowing Web traffic or offering faster lanes for a fee, would be released Wednesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as reported by Reuters.

Internet giants such as Facebook, Amazon, Google and Netflix endorse net neutrality guidelines.

The Federal Communications Commission in 2017 voted 3-2 along party lines to repeal net neutrality guidelines it established in 2015 in a similar vote under the Obama Administration. Those guidelines classified the Internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

The repeal enabled ISPs to enforce how its subscribers access the Internet.

Pelosi seeks to work with Senate Democrats getting “Save the Internet” legislation passed that would then require President Trump’s signature — a probable long shot considering Trump’s pick to head the FCC, Ajit Pai, orchestrated the net neutrality repeal.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year refused to hear the appeal of the decision of the D.C. Circuit Court that twice upheld the 2015 Open Internet Rule.

Regardless, with 22 state attorneys general endorsing net neutrality, and the U.S. Senate — which is controlled by Republicans — voting in 2018 to restore guidelines, the House feels it has the political momentum.

 

 

 

 

NPD: 5G Consumer Awareness Reaches Critical Mass

Next-generation 5G mobile wireless network technology may be more hype than reality at the moment. But consumer awareness of the fifth-generation wireless technology successor has reached mainstream, according to new data from The NPD Group.

According to the latest NPD Connected Intelligence, 5G awareness among consumers reached 64% at the end of the second half of 2018. That represented a 20% gain from 44% at the end of the first half of 2018.

The report – based consumer panel research of 3,600 U.S. cellphone users completed in February – found 33% of smartphone owners interested in purchasing a 5G-enabled smartphone once available.

Millennials reported have the highest potential (49%) to make the move to 5G, while consumers on unlimited data plans, who NPD says value downloading and streaming video content, are slightly less eager (43%) to purchase a 5G-enabled smartphone.

Verizon late last year launched limited 5G network rollouts in Houston, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Indianapolis, while AT&T bowed service in 12 cities, including Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Fla., Louisville, Ky., Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, N.C., San Antonio and Waco, Texas.

“In the last several days, we’ve seen the first 5G-enabled smartphone announcements and as expected, the devices are coming with a premium price tag, due to economies of scale, and a slightly larger form factor, given the hardware needs, than what consumers have become accustom to,” Brad Akyuz, executive director, industry analyst, NPD Connected Intelligence, said in a statement. “While consumer sentiment is positive, cost, form factor, and availability of 5G services will ultimately determine whether consumers will upgrade to 5G-enabled smartphones to enjoy much faster connection speeds.”

 

Verizon Lost 168,000 Fios TV Subs in 2018

Verizon Communications Jan. 29 reported it lost 46,000 Fios TV subscribers in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018), reflecting the ongoing secular shift from traditional linear pay-TV to over-the-top video offerings. The telecom lost 29,000 video subs in the previous-year period.

Verizon ended 2018 with 4.45 million Fios Video subscribers, down 3.6% from 4.61 million subs at the end of 2017.

“We expect legacy product revenue to continue to decline in 2019 at rates consistent with last year,” CFO Matt Ellis said on the fiscal call.

Meanwhile, Verizon added 217,000 broadband subscribers – underscoring consumer demand for high-speed Internet service in an era of online TV and OTT video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

The telecom also continues to push 5G, the next-generation faster mobile network technology. The company (along with AT&T) claimed the first commercial and residential rollouts of 5G networks, despite the limited supply of compatible 5G smartphones on the market.

“As we head into 2019 and the 5G era, we’re beginning a period of transformational change,” CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement. “We are laser focused on delivering customers a best-in-class and game-changing experience on our networks.”

 

Verizon Eyeing New Customers, Entertainment Options for 5G

Verizon last October became the first telecom to launch residential 5G network coverage, with rollouts in Los Angeles, Houston, Indianapolis and Sacramento, Calif.

The $70 monthly (after 90-day free trial) service includes the choice of a free Apple TV device with 4K functionality or Google Chromecast device, and 90-days of access to online TV platform YouTube TV or Apple Music.

Verizon contends there is an addressable market of 30 million households for 5G – with about 50% first-time customers to the telecom.

Speaking Jan. 8 at Citi 2019 Global TMT West confab in Las Vegas, Ronan Dunne, president of Verizon Wireless, said early consumer feedback on the rollout is encouraging considering the dearth of 5G-combatible smartphones on the market.

Indeed, Verizon only revealed its first branded 5G smartphone – Motorola’s Moto Z3 – the day before the begin of CES Las Vegas. Samsung is making another one for the telecom.

Dunne said that unlike the challenging Fios pay-TV landscape, 5G promises new connections and content opportunities for creators.

“I think the whole content area will evolve … with developments of new genres of the snacking content, the short format content, which is so natural to the mobility space,” he said.

The executive doesn’t think 5G will necessarily be a lifeline to the existing pay-TV business model. Instead, Dunne believes 5G will enable a new business model that will evolve through a combination of what’s happening in the content space and the way people are accessing connectivity.

“Lots of people won’t have a traditional wireline [pay-TV] relationship, in which case they don’t need to buy 600 channels that they don’t watch,” he said.

 

 

Disney/Verizon Partnering for 5G Media, Entertainment

The Walt Disney Co. and Verizon Communications reportedly are partnering to explore entertainment and media opportunities in the nascent 5G wireless network platform.

5G claims to be able to deliver upwards of 10 gigabits of data per second, which could enable the downloading of a movie within seconds on a smartphone versus many minutes on 4G.

Disney’s upstart StudioLab unit is working with Verizon testing 5G applications for the distribution of content.

“We see 5G changing everything about how media is produced and consumed,” Jamie Voris, chief technology officer at Disney Studios, told Variety, which first reported the pact.

Verizon last October launched 5G network capability in four cities – a move rivaled by competitor AT&T. Still in the early stages of deployment and functionality, 5G marketing and hype – however – has shown no limits.

When AT&T recently changed the old 4G LTE logo to 5G on branded smartphones, Verizon (and T-Mobile) cried foul.

“The potential to over-hype and under-deliver on the 5G promise is a temptation that the wireless industry must resist,” Verizon wrote in a letter reported by Endgadget (which Verizon owns). “We’re calling on the broad wireless industry to commit to labeling something 5G only if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities.”

T-Mobile, in a post on Twitter, was slightly less diplomatic, tweeting a video showing someone sticking a “9G” sticker on an iPhone with the following caption: “Didn’t realize it was this easy, brb updating.”

Indeed, without a 5G-capable phone, simply claiming to be able to deliver content faster over old technology is disingenuous.

“People need a clear, consistent and simple understanding of 5G so they are able to compare services, plans and products, without having to maneuver through marketing double-speak or technical specifications,” wrote Verizon.