Comcast will report 40K lost pay TV subscribers in Q4, Jefferies predicts

Comcast Xfinity X1 set top box
Comcast X1 set-top.

After finally returning to pay-TV subscriber growth in 2016 after a decade in the wilderness, Comcast appears headed once again for an overall customer loss this year. 

Jefferies analyst Scott Goldman predicts the No. 1 U.S. cable operator will report a fourth-quarter video subscriber loss of around 40,000 users. 

Comcast has lost 118,000 users through the first three quarters of this year. It gained 239,000 pay-TV users in 2016. Comcast gained 161,000 video users in the fourth quarter of last year. 

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In his note to investors today, Goldman said Jefferies is reducing its fourth-quarter revenue forecast for Comcast’s cable division by 0.5% to $13.3 billion.

“The majority of the reduction occurs in video and reflects the timing and magnitude of certain rate increases, with Comcast opting for more moderate price increases for 2018,” Goldman wrote. “We maintain our video loss estimate of 40,000, narrowly better than the Street, but not enough to influence revenue trends.”

Like every other linear pay TV supplier, Comcast continues to battle over-the-top competition for customers. The cable operator continues to double down on its expensive but popular video operating system, X1, which is now in the homes about 60% of its customers. 

Goldman added that he expects Comcast to report broadband user additions of 310,000 vs. Wall Street consensus of around 267,000.