Comcast is making internet a centerpiece, as cable TV continues to decline

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Comcast Corp. admits it has to shift its reliance away from its cable TV business if it’s going to survive the media scourge from streaming’s continued rise.

The media and entertainment company reported fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday that outperformed Wall Street expectations. Comcast’s












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 addition of new broadband customers helped offset continued TV subscriber losses, buoying the company’s overall business.

Comcast lost 33,000 TV subscribers in the fourth quarter, after shedding 125,000 the quarter before — which was the worst quarterly decline in three years.

For the full 2017, Comcast reported that it lost 151,000 cable TV subscribers, while adding 1.2 million internet users.

Cable TV has historically accounted for the majority of Comcast’s revenue within the cable business segment, which includes TV, internet and phone service, among other things.

But there’s been a dramatic shift by consumers to streaming and away from cable TV. David Watson, the head of Comcast’s cable division, said during the company’s quarterly conference call that Comcast’s focus has to change.

“While we’re going to compete aggressively across the board for good video customers, we have transitioned more and more toward broadband. Broadband is a centerpiece for us,” he said.

Internet TV streaming services such as Netflix Inc.












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 and Hulu — a joint venture of Walt Disney Co.












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, 21st Century Fox












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, Comcast and Time Warner Inc.












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 — have grown significantly of late.

READ  S&P 500, Nasdaq log first down day of 2018 as all major stock indexes drop

Hulu’s subscriber base grew more than 40% in 2017 and Netflix added roughly 32% more subscribers in its most recent fourth quarter than it anticipated, despite increasing the price of subscriptions. The streaming giant also said that streaming time per subscriber was up 9% year-over-year.

Analysts have pinned a lot of the reason for the growth on the increased adoption of streaming TV over the internet.

Read: Netflix analysts continue to focus on growth, overlook cash flow

Netflix management said in its quarterly letter to shareholders that its unexpected growth is partly a result of the ongoing global adoption of internet entertainment.

Shares of Comcast have gained more than 15% in the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 index












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 is up 24% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average












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 is up nearly 32% in that time.



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