How did pay TV distributors, as well as leading vendors and OTT competitors, perform in 2018's first quarter? What about relevant programmers and technology companies? In this earnings summary, we listed the results for the biggest pay TV industry players.
Netflix has once again kept the pedal to the metal on subscriber additions, bringing in 7.41 million net subscribers, well ahead of its forecast of 6.35 million net additions for the first quarter. The subscriber growth was also ahead of Wall Street consensus, which had Netflix only slightly beating its own forecast.
A trend of Netflix well outpacing its subscriber forecasts is emerging. Netflix added about 8.3 million net subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2017 after it predicted it would add 6.3 million. And in the quarter before that, Netflix added 5.3 million net subscribers after predicting it would add 4.4 million.
Verizon reported the loss of 22,000 Fios TV subscribers in the first quarter, a quickening decline in pay TV customers compared to the 13,000 users lost in the first quarter of 2017. In a company statement, Verizon said the losses were “indicative of the continued cord-cutting trend regarding traditional linear video bundles.” Verizon, which ended 2017 with nearly 4.62 million Fios TV subscribers, has been losing pay TV users more slowly than most major operators, with losses totaling 75,000 last year.
Redeclaring itself a “connectivity business focused on broadband,” Comcast reported the addition of 379,000 new high-speed internet users in the first quarter, with overall revenue up 10.7% to $22.8 billion, driven primarily by a hot NBCUniversal division. The additions compare somewhat decently to the 430,000 broadband users added by the cable giant in the first quarter of 2017. Revenue from high-speed internet was up 8.2% to $4.2 billion. Comcast’s business services revenue was up 11.9% to $4.2 billion.
AT&T reported the addition of 312,000 users to its virtual pay TV platform, DirecTV Now, in the first quarter, with the company now describing its video business in full transition from satellite and IPTV to OTT. AT&T said it gained a total of 125,000 pay TV users in the quarter, meaning linear losses totaled around 187,000 across DirecTV satellite TV and AT&T U-verse. AT&T’s video base has remained flat with the end of the first quarter of 2017 at 25.4 million, but virtual DirecTV Now customers accounted for 1.5 million of that base at the end of March versus just 300,000 a year prior.
Charter Communications reported the loss of 112,000 pay TV customers in the first quarter, exceeding analyst forecasts of around 20,000 subscriber drops. Charter lost 89,000 video customers in the first quarter of 2017.
Despite continuing struggles among its pay TV operator clients, Arris saw first quarter revenue increase by 6% to $1.58 billion, beating analyst forecasts. The strong results were once again driven by its burgeoning network and cloud and enterprise networks businesses.
Mediacom saw first-quarter revenue rise 3.4% to $478.4 million, driven by the usual combination of residential high-speed internet and business services growth. The New York-based operator added 19,000 residential internet users in the first quarter, with revenue from broadband data increasing 8.9% to $178.3 million. The additions were on par with the 17,000 HSI customers Mediacom added in the first quarter of last year. Business services revenue also increased by 8.9% to nearly $65.3 million.
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