updated 11:46 am EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
Report notes six percentage point drop on cable company market share
According to data collated by the Leichtman Research Group, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are suffering under the weight of the economy and the "cord-cutting" movement. In 2013, Comcast lost 305,000 subscribers, with Time Warner Cable shedding 825,000. Combined, the pair will have 33.1 million customers, approximately two-thirds of the US cable company market.
Comcast deflects the criticism of the video subscriber loss somewhat, pointing to it adding 1.3 million broadband Internet subscribers at the same time. Additionally, it says that the video subscriber loss is an improvement of the loss of 336,000 in 2012, with a gain in the fourth quarter of 43,000 video subscribers. The gain in the fourth quarter is the company's first gain in 26 consecutive quarters.
The report speaks to trends in the entire industry as well. Viewers are shifting away from conventional cable providers, and towards AT&T U-Verse, and the now-nascent Verizon FiOS programs. It is unclear how Verizon will maintain growth, given that it is no longer building out the program. The cable industry as a whole saw a contraction of 1.73 million customers, with 170,000 migrating to satellite, and 1.47 million headed to Verizon and AT&T offerings.
Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group said of the report that "while the overall market remains fairly flat, further share-shifting has taken place. Cable providers now have a 52 percent share of the top multi-channel video subscribers in the US, compared to a 58 percent share three years ago."