Altice USA has been slowly shedding video subscribers between its Optimum and Suddenlink brands, but the pace could accelerate next year.
CEO Dexter Goei spoke this week at a UBS investor conference and warned of an increased impact from cord cutting, which has been shrinking the video subscriber bases of Comcast, Charter, DirecTV, Verizon and other major MVPDs.
“In general, we’re predicting maybe even higher losses as consumers continue to start to pivot to more OTT-driven viewing habits. High single digits has been the range. This year we’re in that 220,000, 230,000 type subscriber loss on video. We may be higher next year,” said Goei, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Last month, Altice USA reported quarterly video net losses totaling 67,000, an improvement over the 86,000 video subscribers it lost in the year-ago quarter but more than double what it lost in the third quarter of 2019.
Altice USA’s video plight is emblematic of the secular declines impacting the entire pay TV industry across cable, telco and satellite. According to Leichtman Research Group, the largest pay TV providers in the U.S., which account for 93% of the market, lost about 650,000 net video subscribers during the third quarter. The top seven cable operators lost a combined net 700,000 subscribers, though Comcast and Charter were responsible for most of the losses.
But Altice USA has been taking steps to mitigate the losses and address the shift toward streaming while protecting its broadband business. In October, the company introduced new video service tiers that price in set-top boxes and channel fees. And earlier this year it rolled out a new streaming set-top box for its broadband-only subscribers that provides access to video content through streaming apps and services available on Google Play along with a free ad-supported streaming television service with 50 live streaming channels including News 12, i24NEWS, Cheddar News, Kabillion, Bon Appétit, Wired, Reelz and Stadium.
Altice USA ended the most recent quarter with approximately 2.8 million video subscribers.