Verizon loses 29K Fios video subscribers in Q4

Lowell McAdam Verizon
Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam (Verizon)

Like probably everyone else in the pay TV business in the weeks to come, Verizon reported a loss in video subs in the fourth quarter, bleeding out 29,000 more Fios TV subscribers.

The loss compares to a gain of 21,000 Fios TV users in the fourth quarter of 2016. For all of 2017, Verizon lost 75,000 pay TV users, marking the first year the wireless giant ever lost Fios video users. 

For all operators of linear pay TV services, total customer losses are expected to exceed 3 million for the year. 

In its earnings call, Verizon said the losses continued to "reflect the shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings." Verizon ended 2017 with 4.6 million Fios video subscribers. In the third quarter, it had lost 18,000.

Fios also added 47,000 wireline broadband users compared to 68,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016. According to a memo out by Deutsche Bank this morning, both losses were in line with Wall Street consensus forecasts. 

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Verizon continues to develop its own over-the-top play, but it has explained away delays by saying it doesn’t want to create a “me too” offering. 

Speaking during this morning’s earnings call, Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said the company is not pursuing a major media play, a la its chief competitor, AT&T, to supercharge its video business. 

"There is nothing going on right now with us considering any large media play," he said. "Being independent is a very good place for us to play right now."

McAdam did, however, tout recent program licensing deals with the NFL and NBA: "We are becoming the first screen for fans of live sports,” he said.