For years, it was widely assumed that the cable industry was in the midst of a transition. Blindsided by streaming services from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, it was effectively taken as fact that cable companies were withering as more and more subscribers were opting to cut the cord.
Bolstering this narrative was ostensibly cold hard data. For instance, The Wall Street Journal last year relayed a study which claimed that the number of households with cable “will fall at an accelerating rate for at least the next four years…”
Sounds ominous, but believe it or not, not every cable provider is feeling the pinch. All the more surprising is that one of the biggest cable providers on the planet – Comcast – claims that it’s not seeing any significant impact from the supposed wave of cord cutting.
In fact, the number of Comcast cable subscribers increased by 53,000 last quarter, representing the largest increase Comcast has enjoyed in nearly 10 years.
So what’s going on here? How in the world is Comcast seemingly thriving when, by all accounts, it should have already peaked.
Addressing the issue, Fortune puts forth an interesting theory:
Those who dislike cable monopolies are eager to see them toppled, and so the whole “no one watches cable any more” story line has probably been overplayed somewhat. Like most cable companies, Comcast also seems to be doing not a bad job of shifting customers to lower-priced “skinny bundles” so that it doesn’t lose them completely.
Of course, Comcast’s situation only provides us with one piece of the puzzle. For instance, perhaps Comcast is picking up a certain percentage of subscribers fleeing from other providers. In other words, perhaps the cumulative number of cable subscribers is decreasing even though Comcast appears to be weathering the cord cutting storm; for now, at least.