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Comcast Gains Internet Customers, but Loses Pay-TV Subscribers

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Cable business rising

Comcast’s (CMCSA) cable business generated revenues of $14.2 billion in Q1 2019, an increase of 4.2% YoY. Notably, cable revenues have been sequentially rising for the past several quarters. In Q1 2019, revenues grew on the back of strong growth in business services units, high-speed Internet, and wireless businesses. Advertising revenue, however, fell YoY in the quarter. Video and voice revenues also declined by 0.5% and 1.6%, respectively, in the first quarter due to a decline in residential customers.

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Pay-TV is losing residential video customers

Comcast lost 107,000 residential video customers in Q1 2019 in comparison to 93,000 losses in the prior-year quarter. Companies like Comcast are struggling to grow their pay-TV subscribers due to a decline in the number of customers subscribing to traditional video services as a result of increasing cord cutting activity. Customers prefer to subscribe to OTT (over-the-top) offerings at competitive prices instead of paying high prices for cable TV connections. Amazon Prime (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) YouTube TV are the leading providers of OTT offerings.

Earlier this week, the top two US wireless mobile carriers, Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), also lost more video customers than analysts expected. AT&T lost a net 544,000 premium TV subscribers, including DIRECTV satellite and U-verse television customers, while Verizon lost 53,000 Fios video customers in Q1 2019.

High-speed Internet customers

Amid losing pay-TV subscribers, the company’s cable segment is gaining from Internet business. In the first quarter, revenue from high-speed Internet grew 10.1% YoY in the quarter driven by net additions of total high-speed Internet customers by 375,000, comprised of net additions of 352,000 residential high-speed Internet customers and additions of 23,000 business services high-speed Internet customers.

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