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Broadband Subscribers Eclipsing Cable TV Subscribers 85

An anonymous reader writes: High-speed internet has become an everyday tool for most people, and cord-cutters have dramatically slowed the growth of cable TV, so this had to happen eventually: broadband internet subscribers now outnumber cable TV subscribers among the top cable providers in the U.S. According to a new report, these providers account for 49,915,000 broadband subscribers, edging out the number of cable subscribers by about 5,000. As Re/code's Peter Kafka notes, this means that for better or worse, the cable guys are now the internet guys. Kafka says their future is "selling you access to data pipes, and pay TV will be one of the things you use those pipes for."
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Broadband Subscribers Eclipsing Cable TV Subscribers

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  • Unfortunately (Score:4, Informative)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @02:57PM (#47685311) Journal

    Unless you live in a city, in a major market, the odds of there being any competition are almost nil.

    • Even if you live in a city, in a major market, the odds of there being any competition are almost nil.


  • for better or worse, the cable guys are now the internet guys.

    That's why the governments should split those companies in two: ISP and TV/media providers. Otherwise, their TV/media half will just try to choke its own ISP half. With dinosaurs at the head of the cable companies, we already see it happening every day. They still firmly believe that "Internet" is just "interactive digital cable".

    • by tepples ( 727027 )
      The cable ISPs that charge less for a TV plus Internet bundle than for Internet alone are part of the problem. See previous comments by mrchaotica [] and sandytaru [].
      • The cable ISPs that charge less for a TV plus Internet bundle than for Internet alone are part of the problem.

        Not true. Internet+TV should cost less than internet alone, because it costs less for them to provide it. Cable TV shows are already sent over the cable, so the marginal cost of providing you with cable TV is precisely zero. But they get advertising money from the commercials, and they kick back some of that to their customers in the form of a discount. Basically, they are indirectly paying you to watch their ads.

        • Cable TV shows are already sent over the cable, so the marginal cost of providing you with cable TV is precisely zero.

          I thought cable companies had to pay "retransmission consent" (that is, royalties) per subscriber to the networks.

          • by ubrgeek ( 679399 )
            But they can charge advertisers more if they can legitimately claim they have more TV-watching customers, regardless of whether those customers are actually tuning into anything.
            • by tepples ( 727027 )
              A cable operator is allowed to replace a small number of commercials each hour with its own commercials. I'd be surprised if this number of commercials was enough to completely offset retransmission consent, especially on more expensive channels like ESPN and TNT.
              • First, thanks for citing my previous posts.

                Second, the claim "Internet + TV is cheaper than Internet by itself" was referring to a plan that included only basic cable (the channels you'd get with an antenna). Any plan that included the likes of ESPN and TNT would be more expensive than Internet-only (or at least, I sure would hope so!).

                Third, Comcast's offerings have improved this year: last year I was at $40/month for Internet + basic cable ($37 once I found out that they were supposed to be giving me a di

          • by darkain ( 749283 )

            Exactly! Comcast has to pay NBC/Universal (owned by Comcast) money for their content! It all makes perfect sense.

            • Not all channels are owned by NBCU, and even after the proposed merger with TWC, not all cable TV systems are operated by Comcast. So Comcast still has to pay retransmission royalties to other networks. Besides, cable channels themselves have expenses, and NBCU has to pay some of those out of retransmission revenue from other cable TV systems as well as what it would have received from Comcast. So on paper, Comcast probably pays NBCU the market rate for retransmission to make the books balance.
        • basic TV used to clear QAM on just about all systems and so the basic TV fee was kind of part of Internet on it's own. But when you buy tv it's lower as part of the promo price

      • I am such a customer. I have "basic local channels" from Time Warner because Internet would be more expensive without them. Of course, since they've switched to digital, I can no longer watch them without a box, which I refuse to pay for.
      • The cable ISPs that charge less for a TV plus Internet bundle than for Internet alone are part of the problem.

        Yup. We were paying $135/month for a particular tier of Comcast's cable + internet service. We looked at going internet only, but for basically the same price ($70/month) we got internet, broadcast channels and HBO (and Discovery, but who cares). And it keeps my wife happy because she wants to watch all those cop and hospital dramas.

        What's really maddening is how we got to $135 in the first place. It wasn't that long ago that our cable bill was closer to $80 for that same level of service. But Comcast kept

        • But I have toyed with the idea of testing T-Mobile's unlimited data plan in its place - if the Comcast price creep continues unabated, I might actually do it.

          You might have a fixed wireless broadband provider in your area.
          That would be the best and cheapest option.

          T-Mobile's "unlimited" is actually unlimited 2G + 1/3/5 GB of tethered 4G.
          The hotspot/table plans are unlimited 2G + 1/3/5/7/9/11 GB of tethered 4G.

          /I happen to live too far away for DSL and in a fixed wireless coverage gap, so I'm stuck with Cable.

    • I think they believe that "Internet" is a gathering tool for gleaning information about the customer. The changes people see them making to ISP and TV access is strictly so usage data is added directly into data correlation processes.

  • Most shows are available online via Netflix, prime, on demand, etc... Cable companies are behind the tech on purpose... To make money and screw people lol.. It's just a matter of time before they are forced to update. ..
    • Most shows are available online via Netflix, prime, on demand, etc...

      Not until years later, after which they're already irrelevant for water cooler socialization. Besides, good luck getting sports this way with the maze of blackout policies that the leagues impose.

      • Not true lots of my shows are available the same night they aired on their website or hulu. As for sports it's a different story but they are adding streaming on their websites. I know I can watch basketball live and nascar... I think you can start to watch baseball now as for football and hockey I am not sure... Cable companies know what's coming they are gonna milk it and slow it all they can lol
        • The leagues' online services tend to impose a 48 hour delay if a game was shown OTA, on national cable, or on regional cable in your area. For non-sports programming on the network's web site or Hulu, this delay can be 8 days. Even this much delay renders a game irrelevant for the socialization that forms a part of office politics.
    • On demand TV is nice, but I wish there were some nice (Chrome compatible) channels available (Discovery, SyFi, History, etc). Sometimes just tuning to a channel and letting it run with whatever is on is enjoyable. And I'd be willing to pay a bit more a month for it as well, what I'm not willing to do is pay $40-80 a month for a over a hundred channels that I'll never watch just to get the dozen or so that I do when I can get most of what I want with Hulu/Netflix subscriptions for less than $20 a month (th

  • That's all we're basing this declaration on? That feels like it would fall within the margin of error for one of these reports.

    • The difference is that proponents of traditional mutichannel pay television can no longer assume the conventional wisdom that TV subscribers greatly outnumber Internet subscribers. So the news is that they're tied.
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @03:50PM (#47685547)
    Couldn't happen to a nice industry. From their overpriced content to their monopolistic channel bundling requirements imposed on cable providers, the sooner the media companies die the better for all of us. And then maybe our cable bills will stop going up at 4x the rate of inflation.
  • If it were not for the fact that my wife is a sports nut, I would have cut the cable long ago. As time goes on, the quality of the programming slides further and further downhill. Undoubtedly driven by the need to create cheaper and cheaper content.

    Sports kind of ticks me off. Virtually everyone with cable has to pay for some of it, and yet if you *never* watch sports you still subsidize those who do want to watch it. My feeling is that sports is in a sort of bubble - costs have just risen too far, and

    • It will not be too much longer until programs such as "Ow! My Balls" would be the most popular programs on television.

      Given shows like America's Funniest Home Videos and Ridiculousness, I'd say that ship has long since sailed.

    • TNT and others still have good non sports shows

    • Don't watch sports. The promotional price went away. Two months later, got hit for a $6 per month sports fee. Arguing with Customer "service" was pointless. Dropped TV entirely, and between OTA Roku and Netflix, via a tivo box, don't miss it. So rising sports fees did cost them a subscriber....
  • Here's to hoping that IP TV will finally takeoff and we can just choose the channels we want. I only watch 10 or 15 channels out of the 500+ that I'm forced to pay for.
    • if it does Comcast will just lower the cap and even if they do X2 cell it will still be low and make buying TV seem like a good deal.

  • We're being hurt by the profit over anything else business model . Yeah, I have huge bills for TV and net, a land line and two cells. I used to have a antenna on my house to receive free TV and my RV has one so I can get local news and weather while on the road. Net access is not a luxury but a necessity. As a bonus, my electric company has the highest or nearly highest electricity rates in the US of A.
  • Different protocol.

    Comcast is the new Ford circa 1930, you can have any color Model T as long as its black.

  • That they can do more than TV: Phone, Internet, etc. Imagine if they couldn't. They would be dead!

  • Congratulations, Leichtman Research Group you have figured out something that has simply been common knowledge among everyone else since 2005.

    I pay $150/mo for cable for one reason only, live streamed sports. For everything else, even if it's on cable, I have my system set up to download high quality encodings to my DVR automatically the moment they become available. Movies, everything coming up that I want gets put in the system and the moment a high quality release becomes available, automatically downloa
  • ... it's noise.

    More accurate to say, 'the number of people with broadband subscribers now approximately equals ....'

    Very sadly, I know that I will shortly hear someone in the workplace trumpetinng the /. title.

I've got a bad feeling about this.