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Comcast Loses 37,000 Video Subs in Q1

2 May, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Cable operator says more than 2 million subs have access to proprietary streaming platform Xfinity Streampix, which has begun a nationwide advertising campaign

Comcast Corp. May 2 said it lost 37,000 video subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31) — underscoring an ongoing trend among cable operators as consumers drop pricey bundled pay-TV packages due to the economy and/or seek less expensive entertainment alternatives such as rental kiosks and subscription video-on-demand services.

The loss was 2,000 video subs less than the 39,000 lost during the previous-year period. The No. 1 cable operator lost a combined 459,000 video subscribers in 2011 — a reality that contributed to the launch of standalone SVOD platform Xfinity Streampix late last year.

Indeed, company executives said Streampix can now be accessed by more than 2 million subscribers. Comcast CEO Neil Smit said content offering upgrades on Streampix include linear, VOD and library.

“It's a complementary video product, and we can use it to bundle with other products,” Smit said.

The CEO said there have been about 5 million downloads of the Xfinity TV app for the iPad.  The app allows authenticated viewers to access programming on the Apple tablet. Smit said most users use it to search for content and as a remote control than viewing long-form content.

“Our belief is that if customers can find our content and view it in an easier way and it's a great — a better experience, that there will be more customers wanting to use our service,” he said.

Video sub revenue in the quarter increased 1.6% to more than $4.9 billion compared to $4.8 billion last year, due in part to price increases. The average monthly video sub bill was $143.40. Comcast ended the first quarter with 22.2 million video subscribers compared to 22.7 million last year.

The video sub losses were more than offset by the addition of 439,000 high-speed Internet and 164,000 voice (telephone) subscribers. Comcast ended the quarter with more than 50 million combined video, Internet and voice subs — up 2.6% from 49 million combined subs last year.


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