Telecoms losing TV subscribers turns to Streaming new services

Big cable providers may get a reprieve from customers ditching their cable packages in favour of streaming platforms, like Netflix, as they start to lure cord-cutters back with so-called internet protocol television.

 IPTV could be the saving grace for traditional cable providers, says Dave Heger, a senior equity analyst at Edward Jones. IPTV allows customers to stream shows through an internet connection rather than through other methods, like an antenna, satellite dish or coaxial cables.

In the U.S., Comcast has reported improved numbers in video subscribers following the launch of its IP-based platform, Heger noted.

For its 2015 fiscal year, the company reported 36,000 fewer video customers — an improvement of 81.7 per cent over the previous year, according to its financial documents. In its most recent quarter, which ended June 30, it reported a net loss of 4,000 video customers, which was its best second-quarter performance in more than a decade, suggesting the tide could be turning.

“I do think there is something to the IP capabilities and the user experience,” Heger said.

Cable providers have been struggling with so-called cord-cutters — customers who cancel their cable packages and turn to Netflix or other online streaming services that are a fraction of the cost and offer on-demand programming. Four of Canada’s major telecommunications companies lost nearly 33,000 TV subscribers in their most recently reported quarters, Heger noted.

Rogers Communications, BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. have all reported their second quarter results, while Shaw Communications is already on its third.

The numbers showed Rogers lost 23,000 subscribers — though that’s less than in each of the past several quarters — while 25,993 subscribers dropped their Shaw cable, though the company added 1,113 new satellite customers.



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