nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

CandW discuss if Comcast is set to dominate OTT

VideoNuze nScreenMedia podcast

Comcast turned in the best results in video in years, and continues to do well in broadband and video content. The company has dramatically shifted its revenue profile, away from video and toward content.

Will thought this was further evidence that cord-cutting isn’t happening. He also thought Comcast was the beneficiary of the competition stumbling. Dish did poorly in Q1, AT&T has switched strategies, and Verizon is spending more time with mobile than its FiOS business.

I still believe that the pay TV market is contracting, and that ultimately Comcast video will return to losses. However, that doesn’t minimize the power of the X1 platform, which can be used to quickly launch other services.

Will loves the X1 interface, and thinks it’s a real differentiator for the company. I’m not so sure, as I see exceptional experiences from providers like TiVo and Dish Network.

I talked about the Amazon Streaming Partner Program last week, and Will thinks Comcast is well positioned to launch a competitor service. I have wanted to see operators do this for a couple of years, and other operators, not just Comcast, can launch SVOD. I also discuss an exemplary approach to operator SVOD integration from PCCW in Hong Kong.

Chapter 1: Comcast’s results (1:14)

Chapter 2: No cord-cutting? (3:45)

Chapter 3: What the competition is doing (5:15)

Chapter 4: Pay TV market is contracting, but X1 still a good invest (9:50)

Chapter 5: The X1 user experience (13:30)

Chapter 6: Operators launching SVOD services (15:30)

Chapter 7: Other operators have exceptional experiences (18:40)

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(5) Comments

  1. C&W, the 53K gain includes Stream TV subs, hence it seems like Comcast actually lost subs.
    Why are you ignoring this fact when it comes to Comcast but emphasizing it for Dish (with regard to Sling TV subs being included in their results)?

    • The primary reason I don’t equate Stream TV with Sling TV is because it isn’t an OTT (or for that matter broadband) service. It is an IPTV service like U-verse TV or FiOS TV. It is only delivered within Comcast’s existing footprint. So, it’s perfectly fine to include these subs with overall pay TV subs. Sling TV is quite different. It is an online service that anyone with an Internet connection in the US can get. (Here’s my piece on why Stream TV doesn’t infringe on net neutrality.)
      That said, I really question if someone is cutting the cord if they switch to Sling TV. And I’m fine with Dish including them in their sub numbers. See my piece here for details on how I feel about that.
      Comcast hasn’t released any data on how many people have subscribed to Stream TV. I also haven’t seen anyone speculate on the number of subs the service has. Do you have any data you can share?

      • Colin, I do not have any such data but I have seen analysts estimates such as:
        http://www.rethinkresearch.biz/articles/us-pay-tv-subscriber-losses-closer-700000-q1/

        Also, I technically agree with what you say about Stream TV, but I think it is highly misleading to claim that Comcast defies cord cutting thanks to X1, where in fact if not for Stream TV (which has nothing to do with X1) they would lose subs. Furthermore, I would argue that Stream TV price point (and margin) makes it more similar to OTT offerings than to pay TV, and therefore any discussion of Comcast ability to deal with cord cutting must mention Stream TV and the low margin it offers.

        • I would be really surprised if Stream was contributing meaningfully to Comcast video subscribers, Ronen. Given the footprint restrictions and equipment needs and the fact that they’re hardly marketing it, I doubt they have many subscribers.

  2. Colin, I do not have any such data but I have seen analysts estimates such as:
    http://www.rethinkresearch.biz/articles/us-pay-tv-subscriber-losses-closer-700000-q1/

    Also, I technically agree with what you say about Stream TV, but I think it is highly misleading to claim that Comcast defies cord cutting thanks to X1, where in fact if not for Stream TV (which has nothing to do with X1) they would lose subs. Furthermore, I would argue that Stream TV price point (and margin) makes it more similar to OTT offerings than to pay TV, and therefore any discussion of Comcast ability to deal with cord cutting must mention Stream TV and the low margin it offers.

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