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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.