Comcast Corp.’s services aren’t available in Orange County but what is happening to the Philadelphia cable TV provider offers insight into where cable TV is going.
Comcast, which released its 2009 financials this morning, remains the nation’s largest cable TV company in the nation with 23.6 million video subscribers.
Like Time Warner Cable, Comcast is losing video customers. The results are in for 2009 and last year, the company lost 623,000 video customers, or about 2.6 percent. Fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 31, lost 199,000 video customers. See the chart below.
But also like Time Warner, the company gained digital video customers — adding 410,000 during the fourth quarter and 1,411,000 for the year. It also gained high-speed Internet, telephone and bundled customers.
Comcast Corp. Customers New (net) Year 2008 Year 2009 Growth 4Q 2009 2009 Video customers 24,182 23,559 (2.6%) (199) (623) High-Speed Internet Customers 14,929 15,930 6.7% 247 1,002 Voice Customers 6,473 7,622 17.8% 243 1,149 Combined Video, HSI and Voice Customers 45,584 47,112 3.4% 290 1,528 Digital Video Customers 17,004 18,415 8.3% 410 1,411 Total Revenue Generating Units 62,588 65,527 4.7% 701 2,939
Cable companies are trying to convert subscribers to digital because digital channels take up less space in the cable pipe. One analog channel occupies the same space as up to 12 digital channels or 3 HD channels. If cable companies move all customers to digital, they will be able to use the extra space for new channels, faster Internet and more on-demand features — and presumably charge more.
That could explain why Comcast still made money last year. Its cable segment grew revenues to $33.9 billion last year, up 3.8 percent from the prior year. Comcast attributed the increase to growth in Internet, voice and business customers even as it shed customers and made less money from advertising.
The average video customer’s monthly bill jumped 6.4 percent to $118.20 as more users opted for bundled services.
Overall, the company, which also owns several TV networks and plans to buy NBC Universal, posted net income of $3.7 billion on revenues of $35.7 billion last year, up from the prior year’s $2.5 billion on revenues of $34.4 billion. Read the company’s press release HERE.
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