Amid more video subscriber losses and continued growth from virtual MVPDs, Comcast is betting its NBCUniversal and connectivity businesses can weather the storm.
During today’s earnings call, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said his company’s strategy toward diversification helps ensure it can be more flexible and responsive as new technologies come into the market.
“We’re benefiting more from that competition than we’re losing,” Roberts said. He said that Comcast’s broadband business is growing faster as OTT video continues to gain broader appeal.
“Why is that? Because video over the internet is more reliable, offers more devices and more bits per consumer and more bits per home. All those are great trends for us. We’d like it all to be our bits. But if it’s not, that’s why we’ve integrated Netflix, YouTube and all future integrations,” Roberts said.
As for NBCUniversal, the growing vMVPD landscape means more distributors and more ways to sell individual shows as well as channel packages.
“I think it’s a very dynamic time and we’re uniquely positioned as a company to benefit from these changes. And we don’t think they’re all or nothing or going to happen overnight. This has been maybe the single most profitable year in television’s history if you add up all the various parts. And that’s true globally and that’s true in the United States. So, our strategy of trying to have our company better positioned to take advantage of these shifts without having a bet that’s so great that we could get something wrong, that’s what has given us a sustainable long-term track record of creation of value for shareholders,” Roberts said.
Comcast this quarter benefited as its broadband revenues rose 9.3% and its NBCU segment held steady. Those results helped balance out the company’s video business that was dinged by 140,000 net video subscriber losses and a 1.9% drop in video revenues.
In the meantime, vMVPD competitors like AT&T’s DirecTV Now reported 342,000 new subscribers to raise its total to 1.8 million. That’s still nowhere near Comcast’s total 22.5 million residential and business video customers but if Comcast’s subscriber totals continue downward and vMVPDs like DirecTV Now continue upward, at some point they’ll meet.