from the do-not-pass-go,-do-not-collect-$200 dept
Comcast had a particularly ugly second quarter, according to the company’s latest earnings report. The nation’s biggest cable giant not only lost half a million pay TV subscribers as the cord cutting trend continued, it failed to add any new broadband customers for the first time in company history.
Users are increasingly cutting the cable TV cord because they’re tired of paying a small fortune for bundles of cable channels they never watch. Instead, they’re shifting to over the air antennas (OTA), TikTok, or cheaper, more flexible streaming video alternatives. As a result, Comcast has lost nearly 1 million cable TV subscribers in the first half of 2022 alone.
On the broadband side, there are simply not that many more new broadband subscribers to add. And some companies, like AT&T, are finally starting to more seriously deploy fiber after decades of cutting corners. Comcast is also facing some added heat from home 5G offerings from wireless providers. This was all phrased rather… uniquely by Comcast executives:
a unique and evolving macroeconomic environment that is temporarily putting pressure on the volume of our new customer connects.
But even Comcast’s gambit on evolutionary new services haven’t been going particularly well. Peacock, Comcast’s relatively new streaming service, also failed to add any new customers. And while Comcast broadband revenues jumped 6.8 percent year over year, that was primarily due to the company’s tendency to nickel-and-dime existing, captive customers with price hikes and annoying fees.
And of course with such a problematic second quarter, Comcast is all but guaranteed to nickel-and-dime existing customers even harder to compensate. It’s all part of the fun in a nation where an estimated 83 million residents currently only have one broadband provider to choose from, usually Comcast or Charter Communications (Spectrum).
Wireless (5G) and low-orbit satellite (Starlink, Amazon) can help some, but both tend to be pricey and no real substitute for healthy, market-by-market affordable, fiber broadband competition, which as our recent report notes, remains severely lacking.