As the largest pay TV provider in the U.S., Comcast is a bellwether for the industry. Here are three data points extracted from Comcast’s 2019 results that tell us what it means to be a pay TV provider in 2020 and beyond.
Datapoint #1: 700,000 (0:58)
There are no prizes for guessing that 700,000 is the number of pay TV subscribers Comcast lost in 2019. However, was this more or less than last year, and what does it say about pay TV 2020?
Datapoint #2: 59.6% (1:49)
Program license fees are the largest costs faced by a pay TV operator. How much are they paying, and are revenue margins getting better or worse?
Datapoint #3: 35.2% (3:47)
Triple-play bundles have been the cable industry’s superpower for the last decade. It has been very successful in getting customers to sign up for two or three services. Giving big discounts on service bundles has been well worth it because churn among multi-play customers is dramatically lower than those with only a single service. Comcast data shows triple and double bundles are losing their luster with customers.
The three data points do not bode well for pay TV 2020. They point to accelerated subscriber losses, continued margin erosion, and the death of multi-play bundles.