From Arris to Altice: Tracking Q4 2017 earnings in the pay TV industry

Financial market data. Image: Pixabay
(Pixabay)

How did pay TV distributors—including cable MSOs, IPTV operators and satellite providers—perform in 2017's fourth quarter? What about relevant programmers and technology companies? In this earnings summary, we listed the results for the biggest pay TV industry players.

Jan. 22 

Netflix
Netflix added nearly 2 million more U.S. subscribers and 6.36 million international subscribers in the fourth quarter. Both of those totals well eclipsed both Netflix’s estimates for the quarter and Wall Street estimates. Wall Street expected Netflix would add 1.28 million domestic and about 5 million international subscribers. In all, the company added 8.33 million new subscribers. Netflix now has 54.75 million U.S. subscribers and 62.83 million international subscribers. Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2018, Netflix estimates it will add 1.45 million new domestic subscribers and 4.9 million new international subscribers.
- read our coverage
- visit Netflix's investor relations page

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Jan. 23

Verizon
Like probably everyone else in the pay TV business in the weeks to come, Verizon reported a loss in video subs in the fourth quarter, bleeding out 29,000 more Fios TV subscribers. The loss compares to a gain of 21,000 Fios TV users in the fourth quarter of 2016. For all of 2017, Verizon lost 75,000 pay TV users, marking the first year the wireless giant ever lost Fios video users.  For all operators of linear pay TV services, total customer losses are expected to exceed 3 million for the year.  In its earnings call, Verizon said the losses continued to "reflect the shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings." Verizon ended 2017 with 4.6 million Fios video subscribers. In the third quarter, it had lost 18,000.
- read our coverage
- visit Verizon's investor relations page

Jan. 24

Comcast
After finally returning to pay-TV subscriber growth in 2016 after a decade in the wilderness, Comcast appears headed once again for an overall customer loss this year. Jefferies analyst Scott Goldman predicts the No. 1 U.S. cable operator will report a fourth-quarter video subscriber loss of around 40,000 users.  Comcast has lost 118,000 users through the first three quarters of this year. It gained 239,000 pay-TV users in 2016. Comcast gained 161,000 video users in the fourth quarter of last year. 
- read our coverage
- visit Comcast's investor relations page

Jan. 31

AT&T
AT&T continues to see the migration of its pay TV base to its DirecTV Now virtual platform, with 368,000 customers joining the vMVPD in the fourth quarter. DirecTV satellite and U-verse TV, meanwhile, combined to lose 207,000 U.S. customers. For all of 2017, the two platforms combined to lose 1.159 million customers. And 13 months after launching DirecTV Now, the telecom conglomerate said it has around 1.2 million vMVPD subs. 
- read our coverage
- visit AT&T's investor relations page

Feb. 2

Charter Communications
Overall in the fourth quarter, Charter reported 3.2% revenue growth, with Florida “snowbird” customers acquired in the 2016 Bright House Networks purchase driving narrow growth in video subscribers of 2,000. In a year in which pay TV operators in aggregate will lose more than 3 million subscribers, any customer growth is news. Charter lost 51,000 video customers in the fourth quarter of 2016. Charter’s video revenues increased in the quarter by 3.1 to $4.2 billion, driven by annual rate increases. Meanwhile, high-speed internet users increased by 263,000—a decrease in growth from the 357,000 added in the fourth quarter of 2016.
- read our coverage
- visit Charter Communications' investor relations page

Feb. 14

Arris
Arris reported a narrow 1% drop in fourth-quarter income to $1.74 billion, with video device sales declining 23.4% on a market shift to lighter-weight IP-driven boxes. “The network-based DVR is becoming more of a significant capability, and the ability of the gateway to service up content to a whole bunch of client devices in the home is also becoming a bigger trend,” Arris CEO Bruce McClelland said during Wednesday’s earnings call.  However, Arris executives are bullish on 2018, with broadband device sales ticking up 9% to $433 million in fourth-quarter 2017. Network and cloud business is up 18% to $496 million, driven by deployments of Arris’ E6000 CMTS and the overall expansion of cable operator clients of DOCSIS 3.1 networks and technologies like Remote PHY and Remote PON. 
- read our coverage
- visit Arris' investor relations page

Feb. 15

CenturyLink
CenturyLink is finding that its broadband Price for Life program is simplifying the pricing structure for consumers, but with more customer losses in the fourth quarter, it’s clear that the service provider is trying to overcome a strong cable competitive push. Jeff Storey, president and COO CenturyLink, told investors during its fourth-quarter earnings call that Price for Life is one of the key pillars in its broadband customer retention and acquisition strategy because it makes it simpler for consumers to purchase and consume the telco’s broadband and consumer products.
- read our coverage
- visit CenturyLink's investor relations page

Feb. 21

Dish Network
Dish Network continued to experience significant deterioration to its core satellite TV business in the fourth quarter, losing an estimated 197,000 more customers. Officially, the Englewood, Colo.-based operator reported a net gain of 39,000 pay TV subs, factoring in a first-time-ever subscriber disclosure for its Sling TV virtual MVPD service, which Dish said gained 160,000 subs in Q4. Dish also factored in 75,000 reconnections in Puerto Rico, which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria last fall. For all of 2017, Dish lost just over 1 million satellite TV subscribers, ending the year with 11.03 million satellite users, down nearly 21% in just two years.
- read our coverage
- visit Dish Network's investor relations page

Feb. 22

Mediacom
Mediacom experienced slowing decay of its video subscriber base in the fourth quarter, with losses decelerating to just 2,000, after the cable operator lost 6,000 customers in both the fourth quarter of 2016 and the most recent third quarter. The privately held New York-based MSO, which reports earnings conditionally to creditors, reported revenue growth of 2.5% year over year to $471.8 million. Meanwhile, the company’s preferred metric, “operating income before depreciation and amortization” (OIBIDA), increased by 0.5% to $184.1 million.
- read our coverage
- visit Mediacom's investor relations page
 

TBD

Altice USA
- visit Altice USA's investor relations page

Cable One
- visit Cable One's investor relations page

Liberty Global
- visit Liberty Media's investor relations page

Synacor
- visit Synacor's investor relations page

WideOpenWest
- visit WOW’s investor relations page