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Rogers Loses 127,000 Video Subs in 2013

12 Feb, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Canadian cabler ups annual sub losses 53% as consumers seek cheaper home entertainment alternatives, including Netflix and Redbox

Rogers Communications Feb. 12 said it lost 127,000 video subscribers in 2013, including 28,000 subs in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31).

Rogers — Western Canada’s largest pay-TV operator — ended the year with more than 2.1 million video subscribers. Similar to U.S. cable operators, Rogers added Internet subscribers, including 13,000 in the fourth quarter, to end the year with more than 1.9 million.

In an effort to combat Netflix, which launched operations in Canada in September 2010, Rogers in 2013 bowed a recommendations software app giving subscribers access to personalized live, rental, on-demand and previously recorded program recommendations displayed on their TV screens. The first cable software of its kind in Canada, the app recommends similar programs based on what customers are viewing, helping them to explore and uncover more programming that appeals to their individual tastes.

Rogers plans to launch an IPTV service in 2015 to coincide with ongoing broadband video services, including a kids’ section.

“We are confident we will be in market with standards-based TV-over-IP services in 2015 with vendors that can actually do it,” Bob Berner, chief technology officer, said in a fiscal call.

Rob Bruce, president, communications, at Rogers, said the inevitable migration from linear TV to over-the-top video requires proper timing over the long haul, rather than resorting to short-term fixes such as unlimited data offers to basic cable subscribers.

“That stands in the way of us monetizing that shift [toward OTT],” Bruce said.


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