The Broadband Industry Is Cheering After A Strong 3Q15 Cable Uptick

The broadband industry was holding its collective breath entering 3Q15, after an especially shaky second quarter that saw a record 625,000 video customers cut their cords in favor of online video.

Those fears were eased, however, with welcome news that the industry bounced back for a particularly strong third quarter—indicating that the industry could in fact end the year on a high note if this strong subscriber trends continue.

Comcast, for instance, reported just 48,000 subscriber losses in 3Q15—its strongest performance in six years. Time Warner, for that matter, lost just 7,000 subscribers.

Perhaps the best news in recent months, however, is that Charter Communications actually gained 12,000 cable customers during 3Q15. At the same time, Charter added 131,000 high-speed data customers. According to Multichannel, during 3Q14 Charter added just 94,000 high-speed data customers. Charter also added 37,000 new telephony customers this year, when compared to the 29,000 the company added during 3Q14.

As Multichannel explains, the increased customer additions means that the  industry as a whole is profiting. Revenue during this quarter increased by over 7 percent, to $2.45 billion. After adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), profits increased 8.5 percent to $850 million.

The key takeaway from these figures is that yes, cord cutting is still popular; but cable’s strong third quarter performance is a clear indicator that the two content delivery models of over-the-top content and traditional cable can in fact play nicely together. Keep in mind that while it’s easy to see the services as being directly competitive to one another, the vast majority of media consumers are interested in purchasing both.

Heading into 2016, broadband operators are therefore encouraged to provide both cable and over-the-top video services through bundled offerings, in order to increase flexibility and maximize the chances of driving revenues.