GCI hit hard by Alaska recession, loses almost 8K video subscribers in a year

On the cusp of being taken over by Liberty Interactive, Alaska’s General Communication Inc. (GCI) said it has lost 7,800 pay TV customers in the last 12 months. 

“The recession in Alaska is a significant contributing factor in our subscriber headwinds,” said GCI CFO Peter Pounds during the telecom’s second-quarter earnings call last week. “There’s a cord-cutting trend in video, meaning people are asking themselves, when they see their friends lose jobs, ‘do I really need 80-90 channels?’”

The attrition has left GCI with 102,700 basic video subscribers. 

GCI posted a $9 million loss in the second quarter, which it attributed to not only to its slowing video business, but also wireless struggles. 

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“This includes both iPhones and Samsung. The new phones they brought out this year weren’t as good in consumers’ eyes,” Pounds added. 

Alaska’s gross state product has declined 22% over the last five years, driven down by lower oil production and prices. 

Separately, Buffalo, New York, pay TV services and software vendor Synacor announced that it has expanded its multiyear deal with GCI. The new agreement includes an upgrade to Synacor’s hosted email platform and the deployment of the vendor’s cloud ID service, which among other things, includes Apple single sign-on technology to streamline TV Everywhere authentication.