Comcast sees big drops in domestic TV and Sky subscribers, but highlights broadband strength

Comcast suffered a significant loss of video customers domestically and at Sky in its second quarter, but reported gains elsewhere, including strength in Sky’s broadband offering.

Although does not break out detailed numbers any more, Sky’s customer base declined significantly in the second quarter.

Comcast reported 17.884 million international ‘residential connectivity and platforms’ customers relationships at the end of June, down 167,000 for the quarter.

Comcast noted that it had changed the definition of customer relationship to exclude about five million relationships ‘outside of the connectivity and platforms business’.

The group’s domestic US customer relationship base was 31.761 million, down 65,000. Domestic US residential customers were down 20,000 to 29.796 million.

Comcast is however continuing to bleed domestic US TV subscribers. The company lost another 543,000 in the quarter, taking its domestic video base to 14.985 million.

Domestic broadband losses amounted to 19,000, and the company added net 316,000 mobile telephony customers.

Comcast said that Sky had considerable success in broadband. On an analyst call where Sky executives were notable by their absence, CFO Jason Armstrong said that international connectivity revenue grew to a record US$1 billion, which he said “demonstrates the strength of the Sky brand and the ability to leverage a leadership position in video, and extend that to connectivity with significant success”. Two thirds of international connectivity revenue was for broadband with the remainder being for mobile.

Brian Roberts

On the call, CEO Brian Roberts said that international connectivity was “a great growth area for us”.

On the upside, Comcast said paid subscribers to its Peacock streamer, which combines ad-supported and premium offerings, nearly doubled compared with the previous year to 24 million, while Peacock revenue rose by 85% to US$820 million.

Comcast’s Armstrong said that “strong growth in Peacock offset the performance at our linear networks”, noting that Peacock also bucked the trend of a decline in linear advertising, by posting a 75% uptick in its own advertising revenue.

However, higher costs at Peacock dented group EBITDA. The streamer posted an EBITDA loss of US$651 million.

Overall, Comcast posted revenues of US$30.5 billion for the quarter, up 1.7%. Adjusted EBITDA was up 4.2% to US$10.24 billion.

from Digital TV Europe – For the latest news about the business of broadband and Pay TV