Cable One Sheds 25K Video Subs in Q4

Cable One, which has been in a heated dispute with Viacom over carriage fees for nearly 11 months, reported fourth quarter subscriber losses of about 25,000 basic video customers, slightly above the previous quarter’s decline.

Cable One ended the period with 451,217 basic video subscribers, down 25,016 from the 476,233 it reported in the third quarter. High-speed data customers rose by 2,300 to 488,454 in the period while phone customers dipped by about 15,000 to 149,513 subscribers.

Cable One dropped about 15 Viacom networks – including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon – on April 1. While quarterly subscriber losses have doubled since it dropped the channels – Cable One lost about 14,000 basic video customers in the first quarter, before the Viacom dispute – the declines seem to be leveling off. Cable One lost about 22,000 basic video customers in the third quarter.

Cable One parent Graham Holdings, which plans to spin off the cable unit in a separate publicly traded company this year, said in a statement that it has been de-emphasizing video service in favor of high-speed data and business services.

“Due to rapidly rising programming costs and shrinking margins, video sales now have less value and emphasis,” Graham Holdings said in a statement.

That new emphasis seems to be playing out in the numbers. Residential high-speed data revenue increased 5.3% for the full year on 2.5% customer growth, and business sales increased 18.5% on a 14.9% increase in business high-speed data customers. Overall, business sales comprised 8.9% of total revenue for 2014, compared with 7.4% of total revenue for 2013.