In the continuing horse race between cable and over-the-top (OTT) video providers, cable has pulled off a surprising win: Business Insider reports that cable giant Comcast added 53,000 video subscribers in the first quarter of 2016, beating even the most optimistic expectations by far.
The upward spike—particularly compared to Q1 2015, when Comcast reported losing 8,000 video subscribers—seems to indicate that there are ways to combat the cord-cutting trend.
Skinny bundle packages, in particular, are getting a lot of credit for the impressive quarterly results. The sales momentum began in Q4 2015, when almost 25 percent of the company’s new video subscribers (approximately 22,500) signed up for a skinny bundle. The company seems to be doing a particularly good job of retaining customers by allowing them to choose—and pay for—only a handful of channels that they’re interested in watching.
Aside from skinny bundles, other non-traditional offerings may have also contributed to the numbers boost, including Comcast’s smart TV platform X1, which offers customers an easier way to access the shows they want to watch, as well as its own streaming service and on-demand TV. Improved customer service, too, is receiving some credit for the shift.
How are industry insiders reacting to the news? Some have responded by saying that the “sky-is-falling” claims of cable’s demise have been exaggerated, while others have said that the decline is real, but slower than anyone expected.
No matter the reaction, Comcast has clearly found creative ways to defy the industry trend—a good sign for cable companies everywhere.