Comcast loses 238K video subscribers in Q3

Comcast
Video still accounts for the biggest chunk of the Comcast Cable business and the segment’s $5.54 billion in revenue was down just 0.9% from the year prior. (Comcast)

Comcast posted its second consecutive quarter with video subscribers losses surpassing 200,000 as cord cutting trends appear to be continuing for the U.S. pay TV industry.

The nation’s largest cable company lost 238,000 video subscribers (222,000 residential and 16,000 business video customers) during the quarter. The total losses were substantially higher than the 106,000 Comcast lost in the same quarter of 2018. But were just ahead of the 224,000 total the company lost last quarter.

Comcast ended the third quarter with approximately 21.4 million video subscribers. But as another notable chip was taken out of Comcast’s video subscriber base, the company managed to hold mostly steady on video revenues.

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Video still accounts for the biggest chunk of the Comcast Cable business and the segment’s $5.54 billion in revenue was down just 0.9% from the year prior. In the meantime, Comcast’s broadband and business services revenues both rose 9.3% to $4.72 billion and $1.97 billion, respectively. Comcast’s wireless revenues rose more than 38% during the quarter, though it still only accounts for $326 million of the segment’s $14.58 billion in consolidated revenues, which were up 4% year over year.

Adjusted EBITDA for Comcast Cable rose 6.7% to $5.8 billion and the segment’s capital expenditures fell 6.7%.

“We delivered excellent results in the third quarter, surpassing 55 million customer relationships and generating strong pro forma growth in adjusted EBITDA and double-digit growth in adjusted EPS,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts in a statement. “Cable had its highest third quarter broadband net additions in 10 years, which drove its best quarterly net additions in total customer relationships on record.”

At NBCUniversal, consolidated revenues fell 3.5% to about $8.3 billion during the quarter as the company’s cable networks and broadcast television divisions absorbed hits to their content licensing revenues. Cable networks’ content licenses revenues fell 27.2% due to the timing of content provided under licensing agreements, and broadcast content licensing revenue fell 17% for similar reasons.

Disney, WarnerMedia and others in the space are likely to experience similar declines in licensing revenues as major media companies pull back their content from third-party streaming services like Netflix and get ready to offer them on their own upcoming subscription platforms like Disney+, HBO Max and NBCU’s Peacock.

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