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SNL Kagan: Comcast Top Pay-TV Operator in the World

3 Jun, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Comcast Corp. ranked the No. 1 pay-TV operator in the world at the end of 2012 with nearly 22 million subscribers, according to a new global report by SNL Kagan.

The research firm found that China Telecom was the top fixed broadband provider, reaching 90.1 million high-speed Internet customers.

Collectively, China, India and the United States accounted for 50 or nearly half of the 106 top pay-TV operators, with 27 companies based in China and 12 in India. The U.S. came third with 11 operators, followed by France, Germany, South Korea, Brazil and Mexico, each with five.

Notably, Comcast’s video subscribers have declined nearly 10% since 2008, and just edged China’s Jiangsu Broadcasting Cable Information Network by about 1 million subs.

Speculation suggests Comcast’s video sub decline is due in part to the rise in subscription video-on-demand services — a premise both the cable operator and SVOD leader Netflix deny.

SNL Kagan found that telecom operators are outpacing cable operators in terms of subscriber growth, with IPTV services from AT&T, Verizon, France Telecom Group and Deutsche Telekom AG registering the most net additions, while cablers such as Comcast, Rogers in Canada, Kabel Deutschland and Numericable SAS continue to suffer subscriber loss.

Separately, the report found that Comcast remains the No. 1 broadband provider in North America, with about 19.4 million subs — ahead of AT&T with 16.4 million and Time Warner Cable with 11.4 million.

Interestingly, China Telecom and China Unicom have a combined 154 million broadband subscribers, which is more than double the entire North American broadband market with 73.4 million subs. The two Chinese providers added more than 21 million broadband subscribers in 2012, compared with 1.2 million new broadband subs by Comcast.

The results underscore growing interest from Hollywood studios and U.S. media companies to market digital content in the communist country.


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