October 25, 2019
The pay-TV subscriber drain is getting bigger and bigger.
A day after Comcast Cable said it lost 238,000 video subscribers in the fiscal quarter, Verizon Oct. 25 disclosed it jettisoned 220,000 Fios TV subs in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30.
The losses underscore ongoing secular changes in how consumers are watching television in the home — notably the rise of over-the-top video options such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, in addition to online TV platforms such as Sling TV, YouTube TV and AT&T TV Now, among others.
Verizon, which doesn’t have an OTT video play after losing $1 billion in the short-lived go90 mobile app venture, ended the quarter with 4.2 million Fios TV subs. That compared to more than 4.4 million in the previous-year period.
The telecom is countering a lack of internal OTT features by embracing next-generation 5G and inking a partnership with Disney for the latter”s pending SVOD platform Disney+.
Subscribers to Verizon’s unlimited data plan will get one-year free access to the $6.99 monthly Disney streaming service.
Verizon did add 30,000 Fios broadband subscribers, which was down from 48,000 net additions in the previous-year period. The telecom ended the quarter with more than 5.8 million broadband subs, up from more than 5.7 million last year.
The company added 440,000 mobile phone subs, which was up from 295,000 phone net additions in third-quarter 2018.
In a statement, CEO Hans Vestberg ignored Fios, highlighting instead Verizon’s legacy wireless business and 5G initiatives.
“Verizon continued its momentum in the third quarter by driving strong wireless volumes in both our consumer and business segments, while delivering solid financial results, highlighted by continued wireless service revenue growth, increased cash flow, and EPS growth,” Vestberg said in a statement. “We are focused on our 5G rollout strategy, looking to deploy next-generation networks while enhancing our 4G LTE network. Going into the fourth quarter, we are energized by the strong performance of the business and we are confident in our strategy to drive value for our customers and growth for our shareholders.”