Cable giants losing TV subscribers as customers opt for online video

More people are dumping TV packages and opting for online video in bigger numbers.

Cablevision and Comcast both lost video customers in the first quarter, the companies reported separately Monday.

Cablevision, the Bethpage, L.I., based operator lost 28,000 TV customers in the first quarter marking the 11th consecutive quarter it has reported losses, analysts said. The losses were twice what they were in the year ago quarter, in part because of price increases.

Meanwhile Comcast, based in Philadelphia also saw its video business shrink by 8,000 subscribers in the period.

Comcast’s cable boss, Neil Smit, revealed that its broadband subscriber roll call exceeded that of its television customers for the first time ever in the second quarter.

The company won’t reveal precise numbers until second quarter earnings reports but in the quarter to March 31, 2015, TV exceeded broadband subscribers by just 6,000 with TV numbers totalling 22.375 million.

TV losses come as cable companies are getting squeezed by higher programming costs and are trying to balance boosting revenue through higher pricing which is pushing customers to find other ways to get TV.

Cablevision profit was $44.6 million, or 17 cents a share, while revenue rose to $1.61 billion.

At Comcast, net income was $2.1 billion or 81 cents per share, while adjusted profit was 79 cents per share beating analyst’s forecasts of 74 cents a share. Revenue was $17.9 billion, up 2.6 percent.

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