Entries in CATV Voice Subscribers (4)


CATV Voice and Internet Subs Continue to Rise

3Q11 Connections: CATV Voice and Broadband Connections

Amid continuing television subscriber losses in 3Q11, the cablecos continued to add to their voice and broadband customer bases in the quarter. Overall, the CATV providers in our sample added 2.5m broadband subs and 2.2m voice subs YoY in 3Q11, annual increases of 7.1% and 12.2%.

The voice gain however is somewhat skewed due to a reporting change by Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) that resulted in a misleading annual gain of 855k voice subs in 3Q11. Prior to 1Q11, Cablevision had broken out VoIP connections separately, but it now reports VoIP subs in its overall voice totals. Adjusting for Cablevision, the cablecos still grew voice subs at a strong 8.5% clip over the past year.

Suddenlink and Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) reported the best annual voice connection growth on a percentage basis in 3Q11, as both increased their voice subs over 28%. The gains at Suddenlink were mostly driven by its 2Q11 acquisition of NPG Digital Phone. As has been the case for the past six quarters, Comcast (Nasdaq:CMCSA) reported the lion’s share of the quarterly voice gains in 3Q11, accounting for 133k of the sample’s 217k net voice adds.

A majority of the broadband gains were also reported by the larger cablecos, with Time Warner (NYSE:TWC) and Comcast fetching 66% of the 550k subscriber adds. Elsewhere, Suddenlink and Knology (Nasdaq:KNOL) picked up subs from acquisitions driving their sample best 21% YoY broadband gains. Perhaps the strongest organic broadband growth was turned in by Charter (Nasdaq:CHTR) which added 79k broadband subs QoQ in 3Q11 as it continues to market and lead with its Internet services, branding itself more as an ISP and less as a traditional cableco.


2Q11 Connections: CATV Voice and Broadband Connections

Cable M&A Impacts Broadband and Voice Connection Growth

While the ILECs chiseled away at the CATV provider’s video market share in 2Q11, cablecos continued to add to their voice and broadband customer bases. As a group, the cablecos in our sample added 2.4m broadband subs and 2.3m voice subs over the past twelve months.

A reporting change by Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) resulted in a misleading 637k jump QoQ in voice subs for the company in 2Q11. Historically, Cablevision had broken out VoIP connections from its Optimum Lightpath operations separately, but it now includes these subs (around 600k) in its overall voice totals. Excluding Cablevision, our sample of cablecos added 2% to their voice customer base in 2Q11, and experienced 9.5% weighted average growth since 2Q10.

Comcast gained a survey-best 193k voice subs in 2Q11, while Suddenlink and Time Warner (NYSE:TWC) each added between 45k-46k voice customers in the quarter. Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) and Suddenlink grew voice connections annually by 44.3% and 31.7% over the past year—the fastest annual growth rates in our sample. Suddenlink’s growth was fueled by its acquisition of Mercury Voice & Data Company and NPG Digital Phone, which closed on April 1st.

Suddenlink also acquired 62k broadband subs in its NPG purchase, contributing to its survey-best 21.8% increase in broadband connections since 2Q10. In addition to its acquisition-driven gains, Suddenlink added more than 40k broadband subs organically in 2Q11. M&A also keyed Knology’s (Nasdaq:KNOL) broadband adds, as it acquired broadband customers from CoBridge in a deal that closed June 15th. Knology grew its broadband customer base 20.6% YoY. On a weighted average basis, broadband connections for the entire sample increased annually at 6.9% to 37.1m connections.

The lone cableco in the sample to lose broadband subs QoQ was Mediacom, which shaved 49k connections from its broadband connection base in 2Q11. The drop was also deal driven, as Mediacom sold broadband and cable assets along with 60k customers to James Cable during the quarter.


1Q11 Connections: CATV Voice Connections

Comcast Drives Overall CATV Voice Connection Growth

Turnabout is fair play—as telcos steal video market share, cable providers are returning the favor and swiping up voice customers.  While they lost 4% of video market share in the past year, CATV voice connections grew by 10% on an aggregate basis.  Cablecos added 450k voice connections in 1Q11.

Similar to trends in wireless, the large providers are delivering the lion’s share of connections growth. Comcast (Nasdaq:CMCSA), the top CATV voice provider, accounted for near 60% of the net CATV voice connection additions in 1Q11. Comcast has added voice customers at a consistent pace, increasing its connections by over 228k in each of the last four quarters with 975k overall adds.

Comcast ended the quarter with 8.6m total voice connections followed by Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) with 4.6m, Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) with 2.3m, and Charter (Nasdaq:CHTR) with 1.7m.

Elsewhere, smaller competitors Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) and Suddenlink reported annual voice connection growth rates of 46.3% and 25.3%. To put these gains into perspective however, consider this: during the past year the largest four cablecos in our survey have added as many connections as the smallest six competitors have total connections...The big keep getting bigger.


4Q10 CATV Voice Connections

Comcast Posts Strong Voice Connection Growth in 2010

The cable contingent continued to steal voice customers in 2010 at a double-digit pace, with #1 Comcast (Nasdaq:CMCSA) growing its voice base at a healthy 13% or nearly 1m new voice connections.  It’s 988k net adds accounted for more than half of the overall 1.8m new voice customers added by the group.  On an aggregate basis, CATV voice connections grew by 10.4% last year, the mean growth rate was 12.5% and the median was 9.1%. 

As in other telecommunications sectors, it seems the big keep getting bigger while the smaller competitors struggle to maintain growth (absent acquisitions).  In 4Q10, Cablevision (NYSE:CVC), Comcast and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) accounted for nearly 86% of the total 544k net voice additions for the period.