Cable operators need to raise standalone broadband to $80 to offset cord cutting, analyst says

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The good news (for operators, but not consumers, that is)? Cable companies can probably get away with it.

With cord cutting predicted to take out another 1 million-plus pay-TV subscribers in the third quarter, and probably set to accelerate beyond that, Jefferies analyst Mike McCormack has crunched some numbers and determined that cable operators are actually going to be OK. 

With each triple-play customer who downgrades their subscription from triple-play to broadband-only, the average cable operator loses an average of $32 a month in EBITDA, McCormack said in a note to investors this morning. 

RELATED: Pay-TV sub losses hit the 1M mark in Q3, analyst predicts

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“MSOs would need to raise standalone broadband pricing to $80, or more, in order to break even from a contribution perspective,” UBS analyst John Hodulik said.

The good news (for operators, but not consumers, that is)? Cable companies can probably get away with it, the analyst noted. 

“We find that this level of pricing (non-promo) exists in some markets already, though pricing will vary,” Hodulik explained. 

RELATED: Comcast to lead doubling of consumer broadband pricing, analyst says

“Given the reduction in lower margin video subscribers, combined with the increased high-speed data pricing, we find that EBITDA could improve by nearly 3.1%,” he added.

Two weeks ago, New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin predicted that Comcast would lead an overall doubling of cable broadband pricing, with operators able to explore price elasticity through faster gigabit-level connection speeds. 

“Cable appears to be the winner, particularly given broadband dominance and competitive positioning, which should translate into the pricing power needed to mitigate video losses,” Hodulik added. “Under similar assumptions, we find that Charter would see modestly better EBITDA and cash flow accretion than Comcast, though results are fairly similar. We also see Telco benefiting where fiber is deployed in-region.”

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