The recent Q4 2012 report from Comcast is interesting. The country’s largest Cable MSO picked up 341,000 cable modem subscribers, and lost 7000 basic video subscribers. This is a lot better for Comcast compared to previous quarters of large basic subscriber losses.
What does this data mean? I’ll speculate. Someone who signs up for cable modem service only wants internet, and either doesn’t want a video channel line-up or gets it from somewhere else. Where? Well it seems unlikely that this new cable modem customer also has Dish or DirecTV (although the DirecTV combo might make sense for a hard core NFL fan). What is more likely is that the new cable modem customer has decided he or she does not want a video channel plan. Cord cutters and cord nevers, are slowly having an impact.
Another interesting set of numbers (table below) is high speed internet vs video customers in 2011 vs 2012.
Notice that as of 2012 these numbers are moving in opposite directions and if this trend continues soon the number of internet customers will exceed video customers .
Comcast will become more of an ISP (internet service provider) than a “cable company”.
Actually the highest growth area for Comcast (and other US cable operators) right now is neither video nor residential internet. The fastest growing area in cable is “business services”. These are typically Ethernet services to local businesses of 10Mb up to 1Gb. This puts Comcast in direct competition with AT&T and other traditional telco type providers.
So if this whole traditional cable operator model should someday go “poof”, and be replaced by one big a la carte OTT (aka iTunes) deal you need not fret about Comcast. They have a game plan.