Comcast posts strong video subscriber gains

Comcast posts strong video subscriber gains

Cable giant Comcast added more video subscribers in the last three months of 2015 than it add in any quarter in the previous eight years, the company announced on Wednesday.

The firm signed up 89,000 customers for its cable video service, the firm said, compared to the 6,000 it added in the same period in 2014.

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The figure defies the common wisdom that customers are increasingly abandoning their traditional cable video subscription to stream their favorite shows online. But it’s not clear that it reflects a broader bucking of the trend.

Indeed, Comcast still lost 36,000 video subscribers in 2015 — but that number was much lower than the 194,000 that it shed in 2014. The company added 460,000 high-speed Internet subscribers in the last three months of 2015 and continues to have more Internet than video subscribers.

The strong results for Comcast’s video service comes as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler looks to shake up the video market by requiring cable and satellite providers to open up their video feeds to other companies hoping to build set-top boxes. Right now, most customers rent their boxes from their cable or satellite television company.

Comcast has been at odds with the FCC in the last year. The company dropped its bid to buy Time Warner Cable last year under scrutiny from regulators, including at the commission. But on Tuesday, Wheeler visited Philadelphia — where Comcast is headquartered — and said he had not done enough to boost competition in the cable market.

But he also reportedly said he respected Comcast’s leadership.

"We can have policy differences and not call each other cretins," he said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.