U.S. operators – especially telcos – are facing a triple cord-cutting threat as subscribers are dropping their landlines, traditional pay-TV subscriptions and, increasingly, broadband plans, as consumers look to mobile as their one-source supplier.
Researcher Ovum’s World Broadband Information Service says the trend is “looming” over U.S. operators, but adds that other regions also are potentially facing disruption on all three fronts.
Charter has tapped Arris to develop a next-gen hybrid set-top box that allows users to access Internet content as well as content delivered by the pay-TV operator. Charter, the nation’s second-largest broadband provider and third-largest pay-TV operator, plans to deploy the new WorldBox 2.0 platform across its entire footprint, including on systems it acquired when it bought Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
PlayStation Vue. Sling TV. Hulu. Amazon. DirecTV. Google. Maybe even an entry from Apple. All are potential players in the virtual MVPD (V-MVPD) market, a market that at least one researcher believes could top 15 million U.S. subscribers by 2020, possibly going higher as technology and consumer experiences improve.
The 14 largest service providers added more than 190,000 broadband customers in the second quarter, the smallest add for a quarter in the past 15 years.
Cable operators – led by Charter and Comcast -- added 553,293 new subscribers while telcos saw their market share slip, losing 360,783 subs, with AT&T (down 123,000) being the biggest loser.
Comcast this week said it would more than triple the current 300 gigabyte data caps it’s testing in select U.S. markets, giving customers the ability to use up to a terabyte of data, something the operator says isn’t an issue for more than 99% of its customers.
Charter Communications reporter bigger-than-expected losses for the first quarter of $188 million, or $1.68 per share, about double what Wall Street had expected.
The company blamed weakness in its video business for the disappointing earnings on revenue of $2.53 billion, up more than 7% and in line with analyst forecasts. A year ago, Charter lost $81 million (73 cents per share) in the first quarter last year.
Charter Communications added subscribers in Q4 and for the full year in 2015, the first time it’s managed to do that in a decade, but it came at a cost; the company reported a loss of $1.09 EPS in Q4, compared to a loss of 44 cents in Q4 2014, missing Wall Street’s expected 18-cent loss by 91 cents and earning a wrist slap from investors in pre-market trading.
Hack and Flack are back, with a new review of the week's top TV and media headlines. In play this week: YouTube Red courting Hollywood studios for exclusive content, Dish Networks attacks New Charter in FCC hearing, new OTT services from NBCUniversal and Discovery, the latest research on Pay TV subscriber loss and cord shaving, and more.
Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen has taken the satellite operator’s campaign against the proposed Charter-Time Warner Cable merger to a new level, this week slamming the deal at a gathering of top FCC staffers as one that could harm “degrade” or “destroy” online video competition, and again singled out his own OTT play, Sling TV, as a potential casualty if the merger is approved.
It hasn’t reached the level of vitriol seen in Comcast’s aborted attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable, but opposition to Charter’s bid to acquire TWC is picking up as competitors, public interest groups, industry accosiations and vendors put pressure on the FCC to block the deal that would make Charter the second largest cable operator in the U.S.
NAB wants station ownership review first
U.S.-based cable company Charter has added its Spectrum TV app to Roku devices, giving subscribers another way to access the content included in their Spectrum TV service on any television in their home connected to a Roku device.
The move makes some 160 TV channels and more than 9,000 on demand titles available to stream to multiple TVs without requiring additional set-top boxes from Charter.
There wasn’t a video conference worth its salt during the years that Netflix began to emerge as an online power that didn’t have a panel discussion titled “OTT: Friend or Foe.” As far as Charter CEO Tom Rutledge is concerned that’s become a moot point.
“Netflix is our friend, they drive broadband,” he told the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference Wednesday. “We embrace OTT television because it makes our broadband superiority more clear in the eyes of consumers.”