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Comcast Loses 144K Video Subscribers in Q2

22 Jul, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Despite the loss, cabler heralds the video sub decline as the best second quarter in six years

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of perspective.

Comcast July 22 reported it lost 144,000 video subscribers in the second quarter, which ended June 30. The loss was less than the 162,000 subs lost during the previous-year period, and left the No. 1 cable operator with 22.4 million video subs.

That slowed rate of decline was reason enough for apparent jubilation at Comcast, which touted the sub decline as the “best result for a second quarter in six years.”

The media company, of course, is putting a happy face on an ongoing trend of video sub declines among multichannel video program distributors. While the notion of “cord cutting” has been kicked around and downplayed for a while, the reality that increasing numbers of consumers are opting to get their video entertainment via alternative sources cannot be denied.

Indeed, Comcast increased by 203,000 the number of consumers paying for high-speed Internet, to end the quarter with more than 21.4 million. Many of those broadband subscribers get their video entertainment via streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus. And Netflix added more than 500,000 domestic subscribers during the second quarter.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, who sees a silver lining as the nation’s largest ISP delivering Netflix streams to subscribers, remains unconcerned.

In fact, the CEO lauded AT&T and DirecTV as "wonderful companies with wonderful products," while admitting that both have undermined Comcast video subs in recent years. Of course with Comcast attempting to close it acquisition of Time Warner Cable, it behooves Roberts to sing praises about another mega media/tech corporate merger.

"And it sort of for me validates the changing and dynamic nature of the market that we are living in, the technological changes, the consumer behavior changes that are happening at very fast speeds," Roberts said on the company's fiscal call.

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