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.

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Christina Perez says:

February 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Comcast won’t stop losing subs until it brings its pricing back to reality and stops punishing long-term subscribers with higher rates while rewarding new subs with deep “bait and switch” discounts. Being a Comcast subscriber is like having to buy a used car every six months — long-term loyal subs are forced to haggle and threaten to disconnect to get a fair monthly rate.

Craig Davenport says:

February 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Buy a decent outdoor VHF/UHF antenna (And in some cases, the ol’ METAL coat hanger will do just as well!), install it PROPERLY, sit back and watch the ‘local’ and the rest of time? Get off your arse and be a part of life instead of vegging and watching it pass you by. Me? “Broadcast Basic” (Locals, CSPAN, WGN and a whole slew of “barkers” that were deleted…Channels 2-22 only.) ’cause I live in a valley with 400′ hills about 310° around my home. I wired the neighbor up with an antenna due to the fact that the cable company would NOT come down his 1,800′ driveway without charging him an arm/leg/appendage-to-be-named-from-kid-not-born-yet to run it to his house. Now we know the ROI-point/customer for our cable company. Later on, he and his wife decided to go to “satellite” and I ended up giving him a waiver, again due to the hill-situation…all before our market finally went LIL. But still, I’ll promote the coat-hanger method over cable/bird due to the fact that the picture is MUCH cleaner, has no artifacts and other than an occassional bad storm or three, once installed, your “monthly payments” are not a concern any more and you don’t feel like you’re riding one of the legs of your favorite bar-stool everytime some entity decides the CEO needs another multi-$$$ toy in his/her “back yawd” in “the Hamptons.”