The cable companies continue to boost their overall results -- but there's always more than a tinge of concern about their competitive atmosphere. So its been a while since any have generated the attention from the market that they probably should have.
Let's start with Comcast
Then yesterday, two other cable providers -- second-largest Time Warner Cable
At the same time, there's lots of focus on the 155,000 video subscribers who figuratively "cut the cord" at Time Warner. While even digital video subs dipped by 46,000, double- and triple-play customers continued to expand. As such, TWC's share price popped by a healthy 4.5% in Thursday's strong market.
Cablevision -- which serves 3 million customers in the New York metropolitan area, and therefore works with somewhat more robust household incomes than its peers -- also boosted its revenue by 5.6%. At the same time, its per-share metric moved to $0.37, from $0.33 last year, and its share price climbed by 2.6% on Thursday.
On the subscriber side, as with Time Warner, Cablevision's basic video subs slid by 24,500, while the digital group ended up with a smaller 4,200 decline. Voice and high-speed data customers grew by 9,300 and 9,600, respectively. And Rainbow, Cablelvision's production unit, increased its operating income by an attractive 18.1%.
So despite the basic subscriber slide across the group, the market appears almost optimistic about its future. But what's causing that decline in basic? Are folks switching to Verizon
Could there be truth in the Thursday Associated Press article suggesting that subscribers may be dumping cable in favor of Internet TV services? Not likely. Those services don't offer enough content, especially sports, for the average consumer. Besides, that consumer isn't yet technologically comfortable enough to make that change. And what family wants to gather around a computer for their entertainment?
No, it seems pretty clear that the problem lies with the economy. Since the cable guys are increasing their overall numbers even now, and given the possibility -- perhaps even a probability -- that our economy won't remain stalled forever, the cable companies you've ignored, especially Comcast, just might be worth another look.
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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.