Comcast Cable Loses 521,000 Video Subs in Q2, 1 Million Through Six Months

Comcast, the nation’s largest cable TV operator, continues to hemorrhage video subscribers. The Philadelphia-based operator July 28 announced it lost 521,000 video subs in the second quarter (ended June 30). That was up 30% from a loss of 399,000 video subs in the previous-year quarter.

Through six months of the fiscal year, Comcast has lost more than 1 million video subs as consumers drop pay-TV in favor of alternative video entertainment options such as subscription and ad-supported video-on-demand. The company lost 889,000 video subs in the prior-year period.

CEO Brian Roberts

Comcast ended the quarter with more than 17.1 million video subs, down about 10% from more than 18.9 million subs last year.

Saving the day again — sort of — was high-speed internet. Comcast added 262,000 board band subs through six months of the fiscal year, which was down 68% from last year. Comcast added no broadband subs in the second quarter compared with the net addition of 354,000 high-speed internet subs last year.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

While subscribers decline, Comcast Communications revenue is going the opposite direction — thanks to rate increases. Revenue in Q2 increased 3.7% to $16.6 billion, driven by increases in broadband, business services, wireless, and advertising revenue, partially offset by decreases in video, voice, and other revenue. Broadband revenue increased 6.8% due to an increase in average rates and an increase in the number of residential broadband customers compared to the prior year period. Business services revenue increased 10.1% due to an increase in average rates, an increase in the number of customers receiving our services, and from a recent acquisition.

Despite the negative trends in Comcast’s legacy business, CEO Brian Roberts attempted to put a positive spin on the numbers.

“We achieved our highest adjusted [pre-tax] margin on record even amid a unique and evolving macroeconomic environment that is temporarily putting pressure on the volume of our new customer connects,” Roberts said in a statement.

Disney Streaming Subscriber Growth in the Crosshairs

NEWS ANALYSIS — With Disney’s branded subscription streaming video-on-demand service, Disney+, the companywide focus since launching two years ago, all eyes Nov. 10 (after the market closes) will be on whether the platform sustained subscriber growth through the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 30.

Disney+ ended the third quarter of this year with 116 million subscribers, an impressive tally for a service less than 2 years old. But as previously reported, one-third of those subs hail from India through Disney’s acquisition of the Hotstar streaming platform from Fox.

But in September, CEO Bob Chapek told an investor event that Disney+ could see challenges to its prolific sub growth due to ongoing issues in India, including timing of the professional cricket season coinciding with a rollover of existing Disney+ subs.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Unlike in the United States, where Disney+ subscriber memberships automatically roll over on a monthly basis, in India Disney signed millions of subs to annual contracts that are not allowed to automatically renew in accordance with federal law. As a result, streaming memberships have to be renewed on an individual basis.

“Every time you lose that [sub], you have to get that [sub] back,” Chapek said at the Goldman Sachs event, adding that with the reboot of the Indian Premier League (cricket), there would lots of incentive among subs to renew.

Chapek cautioned Disney+ subscriber growth in India could fall to low double-digits or below.

“You have to take a step back before you can take a step forward in terms of those [Indian] renewals,” he said. “It’s a claw-back if you will.”

Be sure to FOLLOW US on Twitter!

Meanwhile, Disney+ continues to operate on all cylinders. The platform had 288.7 million unique visitors across all media devices, according to Morgan Stanley, which was up almost 75% from a year ago, and almost 5% from the previous quarter. Unique page views increased by 81.4% from January to September 2021, compared with the same period last year.

“We see Disney on the short list of global streaming majors,” the research firm wrote in a note. “Despite significant continued upward earnings revisions, shares have lagged as net [sub] add expectations ran ahead of content deliveries. As the content pipeline builds into 2022 and 2023, core net [sub] adds should accelerate.”

Charter Cuts Q1 Video Sub Loss More Than 50%

Cable operator Charter Communications May 1 disclosed it lost 70,000 Spectrum video subscribers in the first quarter ended March 31. The loss was 54% less than the 152,000 subs lost in the previous-year period.

The distributor added 563,000 high-speed Internet customers, up 41% from 398,000 new broadband subs last year. Spectrum ended the period with 29 million cable, Internet and voice subscribers in 41 states, including 15.5 million video. The latter down 402,000 video subs in the past 12 months.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Charter several years ago bowed Spectrum TV Plus, a $12.99 monthly online TV service for its broadband-only subs. The service included a free Roku player. Last year Charter unveiled “TV Essentials,” a $15 monthly “skinny bundle” option for pay-TV subs.

Follow us on Instagram

“Thanks to the dedication of our employees and the quality of our network, we have continued to deliver high quality connectivity services to millions of existing and new customers in the communities we serve, including homes, businesses, hospital and educational systems, and local, state and federal government institutions,” longtime CEO Tom Rutledge said in a statement.

Comcast Lost 409,000 Video Subs in Q1

The hits keeps coming for pay-TV regardless of a pandemic.

Comcast Cable April 30 reported it lost 409,000 video subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31), which included 22,000 business accounts. That compared with 121,000 subs lost in the previous-year period, including 14,000 business accounts.

The sub losses underscore ongoing shifts how consumers watch television and stream video, including alternative channels such as online TV and subscription video-on-demand.

The cable operator ended the quarter with 19.9 million residential video subs — down 952,000 subs from the same period in 2019. It finished the period with 944,000 business subs, compared with more than 1 million during the previous-year period.

Fortunately, Comcast is the largest Internet Service Provider in the country, underscored by the addition of 477,000 broadband subs in the quarter — up from 375,000 high-speed Internet sub additions last year. Comcast ended the period with 29.1 million broadband subs compared to 27.5 million subs last year.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Video revenue was consistent with the prior year period, due to an increase in average subscription rates, offset by a decline in the number of residential video subs. Advertising revenue was consistent with the prior year period, primarily reflecting an increase in political ad revenue, offset by reduced advertiser spending due to the coronavirus. Excluding political ad spending, advertising revenue decreased 4.6%.

“While parts of our business have been more impacted by COVID-19 than others, we have continued to innovate,” CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “We are distributing our content in new ways, as evidenced by the recent launch of [streaming video platform] Peacock on Xfinity X1 and Flex.

Follow us on Instagram

Roberts said a strong balance sheet, portfolio of assets, and “world-class” management team would help Comcast to grow and succeed through the virus pandemic.

“This is a moment in time; and when it passes, I am very confident that the decisions we are making now will enable us to emerge from this crisis as a healthy, strong company,” he said.

Comcast Sheds 224,000 Video Subs in Q2

The pay-TV industry appears to be on course to set a new record for video subscriber losses in a fiscal quarter.

The day after AT&T reported substantial (950,000!) video sub losses, Comcast Cable did its part to underscore ongoing carnage within the industry.

The nation’s No. 1 cable operator July 25 reported it lost 209,000 residential video subs in the second quarter, ended June 30. That compared to a loss of 136,000 video subs in the previous-year period.

When factoring in business subscribers, Comcast lost 224,000 total video subs, which was up 60% from a loss of 140,000 subs last year.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Comcast ended the period with 20.6 million video subs, down 432,000 subs from the previous-year period.

As if to put an exclamation point on consumer migration to over-the-top video distribution, Comcast said it added 182,000 residential high-speed Internet connections. That was still down almost 20% from the addition of 226,000 broadband subs in the same period last year.

Comcast ended the quarter with more than 25 million broadband subs, which is up almost 5% from 24.4 million subs a year ago.

Comcast Corp. CEO Brian Roberts took the high road on the video subscriber losses, highlighting instead the company’s 55 million “high-value” direct customer relationshipsand adjusted fiscal growth throughout various business segments, including video.

“Our teams throughout the company continue to collaborate to make themselves and each other even stronger, and I’m excited about our growth opportunities ahead,” Roberts said in a statement.