October 25, 2007 12:44 PM
Is cable’s triple play losing steam?
That’s a hard question to answer given the lackluster third-quarter results from the nation’s largest cable provider, Comcast. The MSO lost 65,000 basic customers during that quarter. It had lower-than-expected digital video growth but better-than-expected cable modem growth and slightly better-than-expected growth in phone service.
But I think the answer to my question is yes. Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke told analysts some of the company’s losses were due to attractive marketing campaigns from the telephone companies, which are offering their own version of a triple-play bundle for digital video, phone and high-speed Internet access.
Maybe the heady days of the triple play are indeed over for cable. Customers who bought all three services in a bundle initially enjoyed a price break for the first year, but paid the full fare after that deal expired for those products. The phone companies saw that weakness, and since they got into the game later with their triple-play offers, can price their products more attractively.
Burke told analysts that Comcast would tweak how it sells its services, aggressively offering two-product and one-product packages to spur growth. I think that’s a smart move, don’t you?