AT&T and Verizon added 289,000 subscribers to their telco television services in the second quarter of 2014, taking their combined total to 11.25 million, with plenty of room for further growth. Comcast, despite its now infamous attempts at customer retention, lost 144,000 video homes in the same period, taking its total to 22.46 million, but has been gaining higher value video and internet subscribers.
AT&T U-Verse gained 189,000 video customers in the second quarter to reach 5.83 million, out of 11.5 million U-verse high-speed internet subscribers. About two-thirds of AT&T U-verse TV subscribers take three or four services from AT&T. Average revenue for U-verse triple-play customers continues to be more than $170 a month.
AT&T has an agreement to acquire DIRECTV, the largest pay-television provider in the world, with 32.20 million subscribers across the Americas.
Verizon FiOS gained a round 100,000 video customers in the same period, to reach 5.42 million, out of 15.37 million homes that could receive the service, taking its penetration to over 35%. The FiOS network passed 19.3 million premises by the end of second-quarter 2014.
Taking advantage of its fibre-optic connections, Verizon now offers FiOS internet subscribers symmetrical speeds for downloads and uploads. Over half of FiOS internet customers take the Quantum service, which offers rates ranging from 50 to 500 megabits per second.
AT&T and Verizon have 1.23 million video customers between them over twelve months, according to the informitv Multiscreen Index.
Comcast meanwhile reported a loss of 144,000 billable video customers in the second quarter, wiping out gains of 24,000 in the first. Comcast described the loss as its best result for the second quarter in six years.
At the beginning of the year, Comcast changed the way it accounts for customers in multiple dwelling units, which added over 800,000 to the reported total. By mid-2104 it had 22.46 million billable video customers. Using its current methodology, Comcast has lost over 200,000 video subscribers in twelve months.
The lengths that Comcast goes to retain customers was revealed in a widely reported call from a customer seeking to discontinue the relationship, The incident caused considerable embarrassment to Comcast, and executives have resolved to listen to customers more.
84% of Comcast customers take its video service, while 36% subscribe to video, voice and data services. Only 12.70 million customers take ‘advanced’ video services, comprising digital video recorder or high-definition television, which is 57% of its video customers. That proportion is rising, up 96,000 in the second quarter and over 600,000 in 12 months.
As a result, the average revenue per customer, across all services, has risen from $131 to $137 per month. Total revenue is up by $562 million year on year. Video accounts for just under a half of cable revenue, while internet provision accounts for over a quarter.
So perhaps the number to watch is not just the total number of Comcast video customers, which has been falling, however it is measured, but the number with ‘advanced’ video services, and the number taking internet services, both of which have been steadily growing, as have revenues.
Comcast has an agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable and divest around 3.9 million customers to Charter, subject to regulatory approval, with the objective of having just under 30% of the multichannel video market in the United States.
The informitv Multiscreen Index shows that while some cable companies in the United States have experienced a loss of video customers, this has been offset by gains by satellite and telco operators.
The informitv Multiscreen Index tracks trends in television services and provides an overview of annual and quarterly changes in subscriber numbers across 100 leading pay television services worldwide.