Announcing its eleventh consecutive quarterly television subscriber loss, Comcast lost 671,000 residential television subscribers in 2019, ending the year with 20.29 million in the United States. Sky gained 394,000 customers in Europe over the year, ending with 23.99 million. Overall, Comcast received revenues of over $108 billion in 2019, up over 15%, producing free cash flow of $13.39 billion.
Speaking to analysts, Mike Cavanagh, the chief financial officer, said that he expected higher video subscriber losses in 2020. “Video is still valuable for us to attach to our broadband centric customer relationships, but only to the extent that it helps us increase the lifetime value of those relationships.”
“We’ve consistently said that there is a segment of the market that either doesn’t value a traditional pay-TV service or isn’t profitable for us to serve,” he said. “We’re not chasing the segment of the market and we saw fewer new connects with these customers.”
Comcast has lost video subscribers for 11 consecutive quarters but cable video revenues of $22.27 billion in 2019 were only down by less than one percent on the previous year.
Meanwhile, the number of residential internet customers continues to grow, up 424,000 in the last quarter of 2019 and up 1.32 million over the year to 26.41 million. Internet access revenues were $18.75 billion in 2019, up by over 9%.
With its Xfinity Flex box and forthcoming Peacock service, Comcast is optimistic about its future. “I think our company is better positioned as the world moves to streaming than any other company in the world,” he said.
He expects that the entry level of the Peacock streaming service will be available to “the vast majority if not all cable and satellite” customers in the United States but it will take some time.
Comcast subsidiary Sky gained 77,000 customers across Europe in the fourth quarter, gaining 394,000 over the year, ending 2019 with 23.99 million.