Comcast Subs Almost Stop Canceling Cable
NEW YORK (AP) — It’s become the routine in the cable industry that subscribers stream out the door every quarter, hanging up on cable in favor of service from satellite or phone companies. But in the October to December quarter, Comcast Corp. nearly managed to stop that flow.
The country’s largest cable company on Wednesday said it lost 17,000 TV customers in the fourth quarter, the smallest number of defections in five years. It compares with a loss of 135,000 subscribers in the same quarter a year earlier.
Comcast credits more video programming available on more screens, like tablets and phones, and better customer service for the improved retention. Its stock jumped nearly 5 percent Wednesday.
CEO Brian Roberts said the company will start growing its video subscriber base once the economy improves and new households start forming.
“We may not get back to full growth on video for a while, because we don’t see housing growth at the moment, but some day, that’s going to happen,” he told analysts on a conference call.
The Philadelphia-based company added a net 336,000 broadband customers in the same period. That was the best fourth-quarter result in years. Both cable and phone companies have been reporting declining numbers, since more than two-thirds of U.S. households already have broadband Internet.
The result indicates that Comcast keeps stealing broadband customers from phone companies. Together, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. added a net 49,000 broadband customers in the period.