TV Networks, Streaming, Broadband: Happy Partners - Or Frenemies In The Making?

With all the focus on linear TV networks and their owners, we also need to pull away weeds, examining the long-time bedrock business of home broadband, the foundation for streaming platforms and digital services.

Cable operator-based broadband business in particular continues to be under the gun. 

While there have been some minor dents for those companies -- especially with weak broadband home additions -- major legacy pay TV providers Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications have those senior companies' executives seeing another side.

Speaking a recent investor conference, Jason Armstrong, chief financial officer of Comcast, says: “The average customer is doing more on their network, they're consuming more year after year, they're hanging more devices off their network, and the utility of broadband is as strong as it's ever been and growing in the minds of consumers.”



And there is more -- in terms of ever higher daily, weekly, and monthly usage, he adds. “We're seeing that our average customer is using 700 gigs [gigabytes], but our super-users, which is where the world is going in sort of a five-year time frame … are up to 2 terabytes per month.”

So that is a growing potential -- the wider addressable marketplace -- to come.

Does this mean Comcast will be raising prices for those consumers? Hmm.. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. (Perhaps Comcast's NBC Universal may need to raise its Peacock prices as well.) 

Starting in the second of 2022 -- and continuing in recent periods -- Comcast broadband additions have been basically flat. Good news is that homes passed with broadband capabilities should accelerate -- some. 

Craig Moffett, media analyst and co-founder of MoffettNathanson Research, writes: “Faster homes passed growth won't turn broadband subscribership back into a growth engine, but it should go a long way towards keeping results stable.”

In addition, Armstrong, says in reference to the higher usage trend: “So if that's the way the world is going, that's terrific."

Much of the investor discussion about Comcast's future still circles around mergers and acquisitions -- that is, possible dealings with Paramount Global or Warner Bros. Discovery.

For Charter, however, broadband remains a focus.

Perhaps that is why Comcast's stock price remains stable for the last 12 months.

What about Charter? It is trading near its 52-week low.

Next story loading loading..